Broadway actress Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands) rehearses for her latest play, about a woman unable to admit that she is aging. When she witnesses the accidental death of an adoring young fan, she begins to confront the turmoil she faces in her own life.
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This film is very meta... Gena Rowlands is an actress playing another actress: the unstable Myrtle Gordon, whose mental health is jeopardised by a new play and lead character she refuses to accept and the accidental death of a young fan that comes back to haunt her. While it could have benefited from a shorter running time, this is yet another outstanding collaboration between Rowlands and Cassavetes.
Brilliant film from Cassavettes! Those who associate him with "realism" should inquire within, because this shows him at his most stylized, full of meta-games but with a beating heart never far from view as a woman who has nothing in her life but art starts to, for lack of a better word, act out. The finale is a happily cathartic (and personal) ode to acting—with the hope that maybe it could sort out your life, too.
Gena Rowlands is a walking, speaking, feeling, melting down masterpiece of a woman.She's such an epic actress even the wrinkles on her eye bags are acting! Every skin pore in her face is in character.Moved me watching her gradually loosing her shit.Loved the way she battles her own teen ghost as harshly as she does her accepting being old.The way she manages to convey emotion with the slowest movement of her lips <3
3 1/2 out of 5 stars. A pretty solid movie that kind of left me scratching my head towards the end despite an entertaining stage sequence. Gena Rowlands is slowly becoming my dream woman and the entire cast was great. Not exactly my favorite of Cassavetes' work but still a worthwhile watch and a bit more accessible than his other movies.
"Curtain up": A successful backstage story. If Cassavetes chose the "failure" melodrama for the final, this movie probably sucks (let alone Black Swan and Perfect Blue with that cliche) . He chose the right thing and said that "the show must go on through all circumstances." Peter Bogdanovich made a cameo in the final (also Peter Falk). At the end, "Superman" did his best.
Fascinating. Where is the line? It is a good thing to integrate life into a piece of "canned, repeatable art", isn't it? Some artists just cannot be stopped; they work on their own plane, and create something so precious it cannot be repeated.
I can't understand how someone could say about this that it was a movie that Cassavetes flushed his career down the toilet with... there's a great interview with him when he talks about how people didn't care about this film and were only asking 'if it was successful?' - well I think it's one of his great achievements as are all of his movies!
Gena Rowlands is exhilarating in this tale penned and directed by John Cassavetes exploring an actress' fear when required to play a woman past her prime. The personal crisis this inspires is both riveting and upsetting and often hard to watch as her fellow thespians and back stage players are often held hostage by her moods, imaginings and whims. Gazzara, Cassavetes and Joan Blondell also give strong turns here.