my review: a woman under the influence

‘a woman under the influence’ is absolute genius. the writing and direction by john cassavetes is seamless, compacted, organic. gena rowlands, who is at the center of the film, is fearless and original – an erratic woman on the verge of a mental breakdown. she finds an equal partner in peter falk who delivers a surprising performance as her violent, temperamental husband. he misreads her unfailingly, and all he can do when he gets frustrated is to yell or strike. she on the other hand, resorts to over the top, neurotic behavior. it’s as if they lack the social vocabulary to express themselves and communicate with each other.

it’s also that mental health was seen quite differently in the 60s and 70s. same time frame as ‘one flew over the cuckoo’s nest’ when electroshock therapy was common.

the kids are incredible. their scenes with rowlands beautiful, filled with immense tenderness and intimacy.

i was shocked to find out later that the film is 2 hr 26 min long. one is so caught up in the chaos onscreen, that time flies. as it often does in real life.

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