3 Women

ROBERT ALTMAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USA, 1977.  Screenplay by Robert Altman.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Robert Altman.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  Cannes Film Festival 1977.  

A truly bizarre but incredible film that has pushed audiences in various directions since its release–even diehard Robert Altman fans might not be huge fans of it. It is, however, a fascinating exploration of the archetypes of women in cinema as exemplified by meek, strange  who becomes roommates with fashionable but socially isolated after the two meet while working at a senior citizens’ home. Spacek’s awkwardness eventually angers Duvall to the point of a devastating climax, after which point their relationship veers in a new direction until an ending that puts a fascinating psychological twist on it all. Meanwhile, the pregnant wife of a local bar owner, who speaks very little but paints her hypnotic visuals everywhere she finds herself, exists hovering over the two women for reasons unknown for most of the film. Altman’s camera plunges deep into the minds of its protagonists; you won’t necessarily know how you feel about the film right after you’ve seen it, but it will stay with you for a surprisingly long time. The performances are all exceptional, with Duvall really knocking it out of the park (she received the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival). Her “thoroughly modern” Millie is instantly laughable and likable; her constant monologues about trivial matters and her obsession with her perfect hairstyle are undermined at every turn by her obvious lack of popularity, but Altman never makes it a point of ridicule. Meanwhile Spacek does an awe-inspiring job of playing what is essentially a multitude of characters in one film, solid in every scene and always captivating. It’s unlike anything else the great American master ever did (no surprise it was based on a series of dreams he had), and it’s unforgettable.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s