A tough-minded, moving film about a working-class housewife's mental breakdown caused by imposed social rules. This insightful study of sexual politics earned both Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes an Oscar nomination. Gen... more »a Rowlands, Peter Falk, and Matthew Cassel.« less
Christopher Conway | Brooklyn, NY USA | 07/17/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"See the other reviews for words on the great performances and natural energy of this film; I want to warn everyone off this sub-standard DVD version.First off, the disc is 2-sided -- the last 45 minutes of the movie are on side 2 and the side break is extremely abrupt. The film is only about 2-1/2 hours long, it should comfortably fit on a dual-layer disc. Second, the film is presented in full screen, not letter-boxed in any way. Finally, the first side has some strange defect where the chapter/time elapsed are not available or displayed.This is supposed to be a "Special Edition"!"
GREAT MOVIE, NOT THE GREATEST DVD
dave9000 | Hollywood, CA | 01/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Regarding the movie - it's cinema verite style (in other words, kitchen sink realism) will make you feel distinctly uncomfortable and "there" in the room with Falk and Rowlands and their troubled relationship. For this reason alone, the film is amazing. Peter Falk is unbelievably strong. Anyone who sees him as just "Columbo" needs to cop a load of this movie. There are very few actors alive or dead who could deliver this kind of raw, honest performance - De Niro, Hoffman, Pacino, you name it. The problem I have with the DVD is, aside from the fact that there are absolutely no special features or anything, it is double-sided. Meaning, half way through the movie, you have to take out the disc and turn it over. I don't know if a lot of DVD's are double-sided but that was kind of a bummer for me. To other people, this may not be a big deal, though."
An Important Film!
dave9000 | 06/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a Casavettes & Gena Rowland's fan for years and "Woman Under Influence" is probably their greatest achievement. It is a complex, tough movie, terrifying at times (you actually want them to stop a scene already since it is so painful) and the film works on different levels from other films we're used to seeing - that we cannot always concieve at first. I remember seeing it the first time, not totally understanding it, but was drawn to see it again - as I still do since it came out on video. Mabel is unforgettable - with Gena giving the performance of a lifetime (what a face that woman has!) - and Peter Falk is also wonderful. John Casavettes was before his time, had a remarkable eye, capable of conveying feelings and emotions thru scenes and thru his actors that we choose not to see or simply refuse to acknowledge they exist."Woman Under Influence" isn't easy, but worth going thru."
You just gotta love Gena!
IRA Ross | HOBOKEN, NJ United States | 07/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gena Rowlands is just absolutely wonderful and touching as the blue collar, suburban housewife, Mabel, steadily losing her grip on life and reality. She tries desparately to connect with the people around her, only baffling and embarrassing them and her husband, skillfully played by Peter Falk, who loves her tremendously but cannot understand her as much as he tries. The scene in the film where Falk invites his work buddies home for a spaghetti dinner best illustrates this dilemma. While viewing the video of this film I just wrote his character off as just another stupid, ethnic type, who was just too uneducated and ignorant to be sensitive to his wife increasingly erratic and needy behavior. But I now realize that such a patronizing attitude on my part is totally wrong: mental illness cuts through all ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds. People of all levels, especially those closest, would be at a loss knowing how best to help this special person in our lives who is slipping away from us into darkness. It may be revelation to some that it is Mabel's three young children who find it the easiest to understand and relate to her plight. They just love their mother and accept her the way she is, without any judgment on their parts, and Mabel responds in kind. It is their influence that will help determine whether she recovers.John Casavettes directs "A Woman Under the Influence" with a naturalness (a Casavettes hallmark) that seems as if he were making a documentary film about his own family. As many probably know, Gena Rowlands was married to Casavettes and he utilized her in many of his films, all to his and his audience's great advantage."
Gena Rowlands is our greatest star
IRA Ross | 04/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any movie written and directed by John Cassavetes requires intelligence on the part of the viewer because he never made things easy for us. He was truthful and that truth sometimes manifested in high drama, and at other times in the minute details of everyday life. Gena Rowlands is the perfect actress to accomplish this range of acting demands without "acting" all over the place. She is heartbreaking as she desperately begs her children to tell them what they really think of her, and truly funny serving her husband's co-workers at an (Peter Falk) impromptu breakfast gathering. This is Cassavetes and Rowlands at their best, complimented by wonderful performances by Falk and all of the supporting players. It is the first movie you should own if you are a serious collector of films that matter. Gena is golden."