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3 Women (1977)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 6,434

My Rating

Movie Info

Robert Altman's Three Women takes a surreal, improvisational and rather eerie look at the lives of three women in a western desert town. The plot centers around the youngest of the women, Pinky (Sissy Spacek), an eccentric, withdrawn woman trying to begin a new life. She finds work as an attendant at a hot springs spa catering to the elderly and infirm. There she befriends her co-worker Millie (Shelley Duvall), an equally strange but more outgoing woman; the two bond, and are soon sharing an


Drama, Classics

Robert Altman

Apr 20, 2004

20th Century Fox - Official Site External Icon

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June 23, 2008:
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RT Obscura, the exclusive column by renowned critic Kim Newman, sees the writer plumbing the depths...


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All Critics (25) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (1) | DVD (16)

Like a dream, it is most mysterious and allusive when it appears to be most precise and direct, when its images are of the recognizable world unretouched (as happens in the film from time to time) by camera filters or lab technicians.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I have seen it many times, been through it twice in shot-by-shot analysis, and yet it always seems to be happening as I watch it. Recurring dreams are like that.

March 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A spectacular artistic success.

June 4, 2004
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A gauzy, perfectly executed vacation in Doppelgänger-burg.

June 25, 2002 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Robert Altman's would-be American art film (1977) is murky, snide, and sloppy.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Insinuates itself into your skull, and earwig-like proceeds to consume all you thought you knew of ontological security

May 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemania

3 Women is definitely a slow burn of a movie, but it's also amazing how well it taps into and visualizes the subconscious. Nothing is spelled out by Altman, who wants the audience to interpret the film's meaning for themselves.

October 27, 2011 Full Review Source:

Absorbing until it crashes in a tiresome manner trying to be too inexplicably symbolic.

January 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The first some of Altman's best stuff. The second half downgrades into rather pretentious and dithering malarkey

September 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

Either a maddening essay in pointlessness, or a deeply involving work that leaves the viewer unnerved and off-balance. Which response occurs depends entirely on the viewer.

April 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

An incisive portrait of psychological alienation.

May 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Fascinating, elliptical and enigmantic ... authentic Altman. Altman.

February 18, 2005
Las Vegas Review-Journal

[A] strange, beautiful and funny film.

June 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Drawing similarities to the central relationship in Persona, Altman's impressionist work is difficult but, in its own way, sort of perfect.

May 5, 2004 Full Review

[Altman] pushed even harder against the envelope and in the process created a highly unusual and wholly original picture.

April 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

3 Women is a daring piece of cinema that glides along the edge of weirdness and somehow manages not to fall off.

April 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The end result is a film far more reminiscent of Polanski than Altman and stands as one of his most underseen but most compelling works.

April 15, 2004 Full Review Source:

3 Women is an intriguing film by Robert Altman that resides in the netherworld between dreaming and waking.

January 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It ranks in the pantheon of great films about dreams.

July 3, 2002 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for 3 Women

2nd time watching this, still can't claim to understand the ending, but wow, such a good movie. Really enjoyed the relationship between these two women. The third in the end is too seldom in the movie to have any real impact.
I also lean towards the theory that Millie and Pinkie are the same person, but hard to say.
February 9, 2014

Super Reviewer

Wide-eyed Pinky (Sissy Spacek) latches onto delusional Millie (Shelly Duval) until an accident causes a radical personality shift. Fascinating, subtly unnerving psychological mystery that provides a bridge between PERSONA (1966) and LOST HIGHWAY (1997).
February 7, 2014
Greg S

Super Reviewer

'She tries not to shatter, kaleidoscope style
Personality changes behind her red smile
Every new problem brings a stranger inside
Heplessly forcing one more new disguise.'
November 27, 2012

Super Reviewer

When "3 Women" came out, I was 11. I have no memory of its release. Even at that young age, I paid careful attention to film. If "3 Women" had been released in the suburbs of New York City, where I lived, I would have known. I also would have known about it if it had received Oscar nominations. It received none.

I became aware of "3 Women" in my 20s. When I was about 25 and in graduate school, I rented it. (Probably on videotape!) I remember thinking that it was one of the weirdest films I had ever seen. Not weird in an engaging way -- weird in an off-putting way. None of it made any sense to me. I would have given it a 2 or 3 rating.

But I never forgot the film. Something about it stayed with me. Many times I felt the desire to try watching it again. Would it make more sense to me now? Would the older me see it in a new way? Would I ever figure out what Robert Altman was trying to do with it? Something kept drawing me back. It was a code I wanted to crack.

After about five years on my Netflix queue, it finally came to the top. Twenty years later, I finally got my chance to view this enigma again. I'm happy to report that it was worth the wait. The older me did see it differently. I don't think it's a great film, but I certainly understand and appreciate what Altman was trying to do. Even with its flaws, which are considerable, I now feel that "3 Women" deserves its status as a classic of the American avant-garde. Not all the avant-garde classics are European! (But most are.)

More details on plot later....
July 23, 2012
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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  • 3 Women (1977) (UK)
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