“A Woman Under the Influence” was released in 1974. (same year The Godfather Part II came out) It received unanimous praise from critics and movie goers alike. Besides good reception, it managed to make money at the box office. A Woman Under the Influence became an eligible nominee at The Oscars for “Best Director” (John Cassavetes) & “Best Actress.” However, the film won nothing. As part of the 40th anniversary, the film alongside John’s works were released on a DVD boxset (later re-released on Blu-Ray) preserved by The Criterion Collection as spine number 250. Famous faces such as Adam Driver, Rooney Mara, Kathryn Hahn, Judd Apatow & Josh Brolin mentioned A Woman Under the Influence as one of their favorite films. The latter claims he’s seen it 40 times.
Awards Season is ongoing until “The 94th Academy Awards” will air on March 2022. I’m gonna be brutally honest with you fellas, I’ve never seen a single John Cassavetes film. I wanted to give this one a shot, because I’m interested in seeing some films selected in The Criterion Collection before The Oscars air.
Today’s review contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen the film, read at your own risk. Does A Woman Under the Influence still holds up? Let’s find out, shall we? A word of caution. If you’re a pure movie buff, you’re gonna be appalled on my opinion. I am not trying to make anybody mad. I just wanna share a personal opinion on a film with no intention to offend anyone who likes something they cherish.
Yay & Nay Aspects
Yay: Peter Falk & Gena Rowlands both did a decent job for their respective performances.
Cinematography felt normal as it never showed signs of technical issues.
Chemistry between Nick & Mabel serves as the main factor. As the film progresses, their marriage spirals out of control.
I laughed a few times when Peter Falk’s character Nick said, “My wife.” Possibly an in-joke to his signature role as “Columbo.”
Nay: Even though the chemistry was strong, John Cassavetes failed to craft a cohesive plot lacking a Three Act Structure.
Characters other than Nick & Mabel are completely forgettable. I don’t remember the names of their friends or family members.
Pacing is slow at times. It can be a pain in the rear if you’re not into psychological dramas. I, on the other hand felt half-awake and half-asleep. Suddenly, I fell asleep. That’s right. Falling asleep during a movie is a really big boo boo. I had to go back and replay the movie tracking down what I missed. Due to making me feel miserably bored, I have no choice, but to Triple Down this flaw. Whenever I get easily bored, I go into sleep mode.
Product Placement (Pee Pee for short) featuring brands such as Coca-Cola, 7-Up, Morton Salt, Schilling Pepper, Coors & Chevrolet.
The First Half of the movie is good. Up until The Second Half, it starts to go slow taking forever like a turtle crossing the road leaving drivers late on a deadline.
The movie didn’t resolve anything. As if nothing really happened. Regardless of feeling somewhat better, Mabel’s mental condition remains uncurable. What I’m trying to say Mabel’s disorder is an endless cycle that’ll keep haunting Nick and his kids for the rest of their lives. As a result of a horrible ending, I have to Triple Down this flaw for making me waste my time. Yeesh! I’d rather play the video game “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” Heck, “Requiem for a Dream” told a better ending!
The Final Verdict: F, FOR FAKER!
No offense fellow movie lovers, I think A Woman Under the Influence is best described in three words. “A homemade colonoscopy”. Why? Because making a homemade procedure at home lacks proper equipment for the patient to feel safe going through excruciating pain within the rear resulting in a messy situation. I wanted to like this film, but as a critic and movie lover, I have to give classics tough love breaking down strengths and weaknesses. I’m sorry. A Woman Under the Influence doesn’t hold up. If you wanna see psychological drama with a better story and memorable characters worth your spare time, watch Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia.”
What films from The Criterion Collection should I review next? Please leave a comment and I’ll respond back in no time.