Faces (1968) - Rotten Tomatoes

Faces (1968)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A movie which had been hailed as an epic by the critics, it fared much less happily at the box office. Nearly six hours long before it hit the splicing block, it is filmed in an improvisational, documentary style which depicts the disintegration of a fourteen-year marriage. Showing the gradual breakdown of the relationship accompanied by clinging to the familiar rather than risking the uncertainty of being alone, it has been called one of the most important films to come from America in the 1960s. A simplistic plot on the surface, the depths of coping with aloneness in America is a sub plot that brings the film to the length it became. A multiple award-winning film, it was John Cassavetes first independent feature--rife with all of the problems encountered in such productions but still a remarkable production--falling hard on the heels of and seen as perhaps a reaction to "A Child is Waiting," his previous film. It was nearly two years in the making.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: John Cassavetes
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 6, 1999
Criterion Collection


John Marley
as Richard
Darlene Conley
as Billy Mae
Gene Darfler
as Jackson
O.G. Dunn
as Comedian
George Sims
as Bartender
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Faces

Critic Reviews for Faces

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7)

Faces is the sort of film that makes you want to grab people by the neck and drag them into the theater and shout: 'Here!'

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

John Marley and Lynn Carlin play the conflicted couple with a raw emotional reality that is uncomfortable to watch and impossible to forget.

Full Review… | February 26, 2004
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The movie is very blunt and relentless, sometimes redundant, at moments nearly unintelligible, but the entire effect is as of a high-strung, very bright documentary about the way things are.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Top Critic

Full Review… | December 4, 2007
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Faces

Cassavetes' first endeavor into the world of marriage, with his second feature film, yielded a humane glimpse into the lives of two impossibly unhappy people who think they understand happiness. The husband believes he understands that a fourteen year marriage, security, and repetition makes for an unhappy person, and so he leaves his wife in the middle of the night to fall into the arms of a younger woman. The wife believes she is happy already, and though shocked by her husband's request, knows to find it elsewhere while she still can. Both of them journey back into the night to find people to give them their satisfaction, their happiness, but sadly they both find that the crumbling of a decade long marriage does not relinquish them from one another. What comes of the wide scope and interesting subject matter covered, is a film that speaks about how uncomfortable we all are when we're placed in our separate boxes, and how happiness is relative and finite. The camera follows each of them as they find others to spend the night with. Richard (Marley) falls back in with a group of people who think they're completely different than anyone else, and have found happiness in greed, sex, and wealth. Jeannie (Rapp) finds appeal in alcohol, being out with other women, and youth. Both husband and wife believe that being with someone younger predicates happiness, and that decision proves fatal to one and heartbreaking to the other. Cassavetes made a film that is ungodly uncomfortable to watch from beginning to end. It is the epitome of people going through a mid-life crisis, though Jeannie is only putting on a show for her husband to show she doesn't care. Neither of them finds what they're looking for by the end of the film, and both probably regret the actions they took the night before, but it seems that neither will admit anything either. In the last scene we're left with disillusionment as both find themselves changed by the night before, but remain silent and pensive. It's clear that Cassavetes wants us to examine ourselves, and what we perceive as happiness, as romance, but not in such a one sided approach as society has dictated. Though many characters ramble and it feels inconsistent at times, it is a good portrait of a couple who have lost their way.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

I wasn't terribly impressed. Yes, it's filmed beautifully and the black and white is effective. But to me, it's two hours of people getting drunk and dribbling s$&t. And the drunken singing, dear god, make it stop.
I'm not an idiot who can't appreciate films as art and likes everything nicey nice with a happy ending. Some of my favourite movies are dark as hell. This, however, is just too long and it's irritating. If I wanted to watch drunken fools, I could go hang out down the pub.
I was interested in the premise of an unhappy couple and the monotony of suburbia, but these weren't like regular people. I thought this theme was done very well in Revolutionary Road, and I guess I thought this might be in the same vein.
To top it all off, the mono sound meant I had to watch the whole movie with subtitles on because I could hardly understand what anyone was saying. (Then I felt like maybe I should switch them off again as maybe it would be preferable to the nonsense they were actually talking).
Even having a hooker as a character couldn't make this interesting.
This movie seems very popular, but I can't believe it's just me.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Cassavetes' probing look at dissolving marriages in the face of suburban malaise may be overlong and excessive, but it's unflinchingly honest at every turn. He's the master of letting scenes develop while simultaneously deconstructing them. Faces may not be his best film, but his directorial prowess is on full display. Cinema verite at its best.

Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

Faces Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Faces on our Movie forum!