A Woman Under the Influence
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A Woman Under the Influence
John Cassavetes' harrowing masterpiece charts the emotional meltdown of a suburban housewife and its effects on her blue-collar Italian family. Gena Rowlands stars as Mabel Longhetti, a mother of three whose husband Nick (Peter Falk) works as a construction worker; a mismatched couple like so many others in Cassavetes films, the Longhettis seem to be complete opposites: she's impetuous, extroverted, and fragile, while he's controlling, distant, and hard-bitten. Their differences underscore a series of domestic dramas, culminating in a nervous breakdown that sends Mabel to a… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The primal violence that binds men and woman has rarely been evoked as plausibly or intensely as in this 1974 drama."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"Rowlands' performance in the title role is one of those tour de force numbers available only to screen players of alcoholics and lunatics."
‑ , Variety
"Magnifies in squirmy detail the efforts of a couple to cope with her -- or should that be their? -- mental meltdown."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Gena Rowlands gives a career-defining tour de force performance that is a pinnacle of film-acting in an earth-shattering film that is unlike any other ever made."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"A insightful essay on sexual politics: Rowlands is terrific as a housewife who crosses the line into sanity. With a light feminist touch, she is perceived as a victim of repressive patriarchal order."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Watching 35 years later, you're struck by its forward sense of therapeutic misfortune."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"An astonishing, compulsive film, directed with a crackling energy."
‑ , Time Out
"Despite the fact that there's a lot of technique on display here, the film still described as cinéma vérité, which I suppose is a testament to how raw and emotional it all feels."
‑ Eric Melin, Scene-Stealers.com
"An exceptional film .. a study in the complexities of love, in the subtleties of mental disorder and in the way society demands rigid conformity"
‑ Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile
"An insightful essay on sexual politics. As Rowlands delicately crosses the line of sanity, it becomes apparent that imposed social roles are the cause."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Falk and the rest of the cast are exceptional -- even the smallest roles feel spot-on -- but Rowlands is the film."
‑ Tim Grierson, Village Voice
"The most frightening scenes are extremely compelling, and this is a thoughtful film that does prompt serious discussion."
‑ Nora Sayre, New York Times
"Falk and Rowlands -- in performances of almost indescribable intensity -- detail a marriage anchored by love, but tossed by the expectations of others and the unpredictable swell of madness."
‑ Keith Phipps, AV Club
"John Cassavetes was one of those rare artists of whom it could be said that his flaws were his strengths, and his strengths were his flaws...Consequently, the film has to rank somewhere between the two in the Cassavetes canon, and I'd opt for putting it c"
‑ Dan Schneider, culturevulture.net
"Always remains intense and popping with energy."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for A Woman Under the Influence on Rotten Tomatoes