3 Women Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2014
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).
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2012
'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.'
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2012
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....
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2011
Altman's surreal masterpiece and Shelley Duvall's greatest performance.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2009
Robert Altman writes, produces and directs this film about the confluence of three 'damaged' women and their problematic interactions. The plot seems to meander here and there but Altman has a knack for getting an audience from point A to point B by way of points C, G and K.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2011
Robert Altman's "3 Women" was conceived in a dream and subsequently structured like one. Obviously, this has it pros and cons. While I suspect there is no clear one meaning to the film, it should mean something different to each viewer. The acting on display here is top notch. Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek deliver two of their best performances and ultimately create a fascinating single character. "3 Women" is an uncomfortable 2 hours, full of frustration, anxiety and that hauntingly ever-present demonic artwork. One of, if not, Altman's most daring and obscure pictures. (Yes, even over "Images.")
Super Reviewer
December 3, 2010
A surreal tale of emotional vampirism. Key proof that there is no need to fully understand a film to find it utterly fascinating.
Super Reviewer
½ May 11, 2008
an impressionist masterpiece from altman quite unlike his other works. the heavy symbolism, the desert setting (it sure does look like texas), water everywhere (spas, swimming pools, fish tanks), the wonderful mythic paintings, atonal soundtrack, and startling performances (especially shelley duvall in one of the funniest and most heart-breaking characterizations i've ever seen on screen), the dream-logic (altman famously claimed he dreamed the film and it retains that surreal quality)...it will stay in your head. certainly it's kin to persona as mulholland drive is kin to this film with their mutual themes of identity theft/merger. it's just as eerie but with a good dose of squirm-inducing humor which those films are lacking. best not try to explain it, just see it with an open mind. one of the finest american films of the 1970's and that's saying something. 1 becomes 2, 2 become 3, 3 become 1
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2008
I may be wrong, but I always imagine "3 Women" turning off a portion of Altman aficionados, while at the same time enchanting some regular detractors of his work. A complete departure from his typical freewheeling, ensemble style of filmmaking, it has a haunting, dreamlike quality unlike anything else I've seen. It's a tough one to describe, but the titular women are: a socially invisible chatterbox (Shelley Duvall), her adoring, childlike protege (Sissy Spacek), and a near mute artist (Janice Rule), pregnant by Duvall and Spacek's lecherous, philandering landlord. Over the course of the film, a pair of cataclysmic events cause the women to twice exchange identities. Without giving too much away, the first such transfer is straightforward enough, prompted by temporary amnesia, but the second is more abstract and disturbing, motivated by guilt and loss. If all this sounds a little heavy-going, "3 Women" is often very funny, at the expense of Duvall's would-be domestic goddess and Spacek's wide-eyed innocent. Shelley Duvall is outstanding and Sissy Spacek is equally wonderful, but the film owes much of its haunting atmosphere to Janice Rule; the fact that she says very little is somehow more mysterious than if she were to say nothing at all.
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2015
3 Women is wonderfully strange. Inspired by a dream, it flows like one with Sissy Spacek plays a once in a lifetime role.
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2011
Robert Altman created 3 Women with no screenplay based on a dream he had. The film itself closely resembles various dreams and is filled with surreal and dreamlike qualities. The story of the three women and various men throughout are observed on a daily basis within their jobs and personal life, which is all flipped as the film progresses and an "accident" occurs. The film is surreal and even creepy in it's visuals and very loose in it's narrative structure as a screenplay wasn't fully worked out when it was shot. While the film starts off strong and very compelling the latter half falls into a state of redunacy.
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2012
3 women is a rather strange film from Altman. It was well directed with beautiful scenery and spot on cinematography. While it tried to be mind bending it really didn't get quiet there. I mean when Altman himself doesnt know what it means why would I bother to care.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2012
"3 Women" has got to be the strangest contemporary film I've ever seen. It's hypnotic and surreal, dream-like and offbeat, plotless and unsettling. The length is frustrating at times when nothing seems to be happening, but it eventually plays out. Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek are both magnetic in their roles, each delivering nuanced, finely-tuned performances, but it's Robert Altman's direction that really fascinated me. Each scene is so handsomely executed and each shot is so perfectly framed that I cared less and less about the fact that there was nothing really going on.
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2011
A dreamy and hypnotic odyssey with great performances by Shelly Duvall & Sissy Spacek. Behind 'Short Cuts' as my favorite Altman film.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2010
One of my fav Robert Altman films and a personal fav of mine. Everytime I watch it i'm taken away with the characters and the personas between Shelly Duvull, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule. 3 Women is a masterpiece.
March 29, 2014
I get the sense this is what Lynch wanted to do with Mulholland Drive... 3 Women sure is atmospheric at best, and tough to keep your eyes open at worst. A couple of key scenes, the birthing one in particular, keep this movie worthwhile... otherwise it's kind of a mess of nothingness.
November 17, 2013
The first half of this movie is a rather strait-forward story but it takes a sudden turn into bizarre and and never looks back. Different viewers will interpret it differently, but one thing for sure, it leaves you trying to make sense of its meaning.
½ October 15, 2008
Water, water everywhere... Another 1970s masterpiece from director Robert Altman. A haunting score accompanies this enigmatic story of fluid identity, displacement, and mythic concepts of womanhood. Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall are perfectly cast as women who continually mirror one another as they share a job and an apartment. Reminiscent of both Bergman and Polanski--Bergman for its thorough deconstruction of personality and measured pace; Polanski for its chilling dreamlike tone and that I'm not sure if this is a work of overt misogyny or heroic feminism. Mmm-boy, that's good irony!
January 25, 2012
Funny, unsettling, stylish, and unforgettable, Robert Altman's 3 Women its an unforgettable film and perhaps his finest in my opinion. The film revolves around the intersecting lives of three damaged women who seek friendship, love, meaning, and self-actualization in a modern world into which they do not quite fit. Awkward in their interactions with society, the three women repeatedly fail at their attempts to connect and fit in, particularly with the male sex. Beautifully shot, cerebral, and moving, 3 Women plumbs the depths of introversion and alienation in a way you will never forget.
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