A familiar drama led by an outstanding performance by Gena Rowlands: Maple is a very complex and psychologically unstable woman and you can see how her facial expressions, body language and tone of voice reflect that emotional roller coaster. The supporting cast is also great, and you do feel a bit drained watching this dysfunctional family. Those poor kids, they will be so messed-up as adults!
Film students can be such idiots, or at least I was, for finding this too loose and vague. With age, this is a true masterpiece, an emotional gauntlet, and a complex, epic family portrait. Rowlands' mania is exacerbated by Falk, who's monstrous, but a very human monster created by pressure. Both keep hanging on, for those rare moments where it seems like they might really make a happy family after all. Shattering.
this is my first time watching cassavetes, and i'm left wondering: did i not get it? what am i missing? did everyone commenting on this watch another film? was my torrent bad? gena rowlands' performance is terrific, but i don't see the point of the plot, and i feel like i should apologize for that! lol
My initial impression of John Cassavetes as a filmmaker was with The Killing of Chinese Bookie and wasn’t impressed. This, however, is much better, much more emotionally affective film. It features incredibly strong, powerhouse performances from its two leads, and leaves you drained (in a good way). Emotionally visceral and amazingly acted. An impressive masterstroke that hits hard.
While other reviewers vilify Falk, I see a good and honest man, who rages in service of keeping the family together and grounding his wife. Sure, he has a bit of a temper ( definitely not malicious or abusive). But I would argue that that is the very thing needed to not give up on his wife and family. So rage, rage against the dying of the light... ;)
Gena Rowlands' turns in one of the best performances I have ever seen. Throughout this film, Mabel is doing her best to give all of her love and support to those around her. At times, she comes up short and reprimanded for it, but the only crime she committed was caring too much. Scenes in this movie have a tendency to get under the skin and cause discomfort, but it all feels necessary. Worth the extensive run time.
One of the most important independent films ever made, Cassavetes' "A Woman Under The Influence" still holds strong today. A truly disturbing film in the best way possible, brought on by Gena Rowland's iconic and immortal performance. An intense and realistic tale of how devastating mental illness can be. Sometimes a film needs to be challenging, and few are on par with this masterpiece.
I always watch it twice in a row because I just don't want to let go of the emotions and a strange humble fearlessness I get when watching it. I believe it is the best film of Cassavetes & Rownalds. Like in all of his films the scene is set not just by the characters, but by pieces of furniture, doors, piece of clothing, by silence... I recommend to listen to this audio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCfsX1tb76w