3 Women - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

3 Women Reviews

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September 30, 2016
Apparently this film from writer and director Robert Altman come to him in a dream - and the dream clearly worked wonderfully well, because he has delivered a masterpiece here.

The story depicts the bizarre relationship between a woman and her co-worker and roommate. There is absolutely no lesbianism involved in this film due to the certificate (Parental Guidance).

I think the best performance in the film goes to Sissy Spacek with her brilliant performance as Mildred 'Pinky' Rose. She arrives at a health spa, where she is befriended by her co-worker Shelley Duvall, who is also as good as Spacek. But Spacek steals the show with one particular scene which I was not expecting at all. Janice Rule offers solid support in her role as Willie, the woman who co-owns Dodge City which Duvall and Spacek join. Altman's direction is solid and his script is fantastic.

Despite that this was not nominated for any major awards, I consider this to be Altman's best film. It works so well thanks to the brilliant performances, solid script and excellent cinematography. It's also my second favourite from the year of this release.
August 9, 2016
Robert Altman's 3 Women smoothly integrates many different genres to make for a riveting psychological study as well as an experience much different from the rest of Altman's canon.
June 5, 2016
Robert Altman creates an atmosphere the viewer is instantly transported to and eventually gets lost in. What happens on screen is secondary to how the audience feels it happening. Altman is a master of creating mood and setting tone, and 3 Women's air of spookiness, surrealism, and impending doom never quite let the viewer feel comfortable or sure of exactly what's going to happen. In Pinky (Spacek) and Millie (Duvall) Altman has created two of the most distinctive characters ever filmed. He lets them explore aspects of the human condition rarely portrayed on screen and presents their world not so much as a slice of life but different parts of our collective consciousness.
½ May 3, 2016
Spellbinding is the way a disconnect can exist between your perception of yourself and the perception others have of you. To attempt to figure out how the two differentiate is an exhausting endeavor, hardly mattering because most are adept in understanding their presentation of themselves and how to maintain it alongside their self-possession. But for every person of the latter type, there's another appearing to be completely oblivious to their surroundings. Personality is a given, but varying is how it is viewed in the eyes of another.
Robert Altman's unsettling "3 Women" is a character study fascinated by this phenomenon. It watches in disbelief as its titular trio studies, reflects, shifts, and eventually merges in their individual guises. Like with Ingmar Bergman's elusive 1966 masterpiece "Persona," we don't so much feel as though we're watching a foray into cinematic realism. "3 Women" is, rather, invested in manipulating what's expected of any given character, how changes in their dispositions can make way so long as the filmmaker behind it all chooses to.
But the movie is so unnerving because its manipulations aren't so obvious. Contrasting to later day homages like "Mulholland Dr." and "Certified Copy," never is there a direct sense that we're watching the director's version of a seductive mirage. Such a quality isn't apparent until the last half-hour or so, when drastic shifts in character swirl around us with curious menace. What Altman is trying to accomplish with "3 Women" is hard to easily grasp. But its hypnotism is unbreakable; it's akin to an unforgettable dream, inexplicable yet fetchingly enigmatic. We want to know what's lurking beneath the surface of it all. We're certain that there's more than what meets the eye.
It takes the shape of a horror movie, utilizing an eerie soundtrack and voyeuristic camerawork to increase our anxiety. Nothing truly horrific is ever presented to us per se; I think Altman, whose writing and directing is unrelentingly mysterious, figures the best way to make "3 Women's" idiosyncrasies avoid pretension is to establish an unstable environment, an environment on the verge of collapsing or on the verge of violence.
Its three leadings characters, though three-dimensional and instantaneously graspable, only accentuate this disquiet. We feel as if we know them, but their auras are lined with nervous unpredictability. The film stars Sissy Spacek as Pinky Rose, a timid and cryptic young woman from Texas in California to start a new life. What she's running from (if she's running) is unknown - Pinky is the kind of person that disappears into the background of every room she enters, too withdrawn to make herself a noticeable presence in another's life.
She quickly gets a job at a daytime spa that specializes in caring for the elderly and the handicapped. There she meets and takes a liking to Millie Lammoreaux (Shelley Duvall), an extroverted employee who appreciates Pinky's attention but is apprehensive toward a full-fledged friendship. Pinky is a little strange, after all, and Millie is the life of the party, the prettiest and most liked person in the room.
Or so she thinks. Whereas Pinky is reticent in her existence but seemingly happy about it, Millie believes she's a glamorous catch when the truth is far and away. Men she flirts with mock her behind her back. The women at work all but ignore her when she attempts to converse with them. And yet she seems to be blissfully unaware of everyone's indifference, talkative, poised, and smitten with herself.
But some of her security departs when her roommate moves out, leaving her alone in a world that she is convinced revolves around her. Millie posts an advertisement on the bulletin board in the hospital cafeteria across the street from the spa. Pinky notices and enthusiastically accepts. Before long, the women are living together, initially symbiotically. But as their relationship develops, unexplainable dislocations in their personalities come to light. And the changes are not expected or average, like roommate disagreements or spats over romance. Something fanciful, something almost fantastical, is at hand. What it is, though, is unclear.
"3 Women" only seems to heighten in its perplexities as it goes on, escalating in its erraticism until it doesn't seem to be of this Earth. How it specifically develops I cannot say. But who are Millie and Pinky? Are they roommates, beings always meant to be together, or are they a single person seen as two? The inclusion of the third woman adds to the mystery. Named Willie and played by a largely silent Janice Rule, she spends most of her time in the desert at an abandoned recreational center turned bar, wasting the days painting disturbing murals on much of the decor. Pregnant and peculiar, she seems to exist outside of the natural world, drifting in its shadows, never to be tied down.
How these women are all connected is laborious to pin down. But I believe Millie is the only "real" character among them: Pinky exists more as an extension of the latter, reflecting her best and worst qualities with exaggeration, and Willie is an embodiment of the doubts she has about herself, always stalking the premises but never quite intrinsically there. Within the first hour of "3 Women," Pinky is what Millie should be - understanding of her rejection by society and aware of her loneliness. In the second, when the two have effectively switched personalities, Pinky is what Millie strives to be - enchanting to all and dangerously alluring. Millie believes herself to be one way but is actually another; Pinky shapes herself into what she finds entrancing and does it better; Willie represents her kept hidden disillusion with herself.
But such observations only makes for general analysis. "3 Women" is better viewed as a movie that we cannot explain. It finds its setting in a land distinctly separate from our own, where the prosaic is profound and where no one knows themselves as well as they'd like to think. The film's obsession with dismantling one's sense of self makes it remarkably macabre. In this cruel world, knowing who we are is all we have. And yet it finds most of its intrigue by unraveling Millie's own comfort in her discernment of her existence. Days later and I'm still agitated by its audacity.
"3 Women" is certainly one of Altman's most offbeat films, and is certainly one of the great cinematic wonders of the 1970s. Duvall and Spacek give sensational performances (made all the more difficult due to Altman's insistence on extensive improv); the atmosphere is unearthly and influential. But I quake in fear when looking at the film from a retrospective eye; there's something invasive, something personal about it, that chills me. I'm not sure what. I don't believe I could ever watch it again. But what an unprecedented, brilliant movie it is.
April 9, 2016
The steady build up is worth the movie's deep characters and engaging story.
April 5, 2016
Robert Altman's "3 Women" is a Western psychological horror film for those seeking the subtle, slow, and surreal.
March 26, 2016
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.
½ March 24, 2016
I think I need to watch it again...
½ November 21, 2015
She'll show you how simple it really is.

Pinky is a young girl that recently obtained a new job at a rehabilitation center of sorts. She struggles to make friends and meets a girl with a similar disorder. The coworkers move in and things quickly become awkward. The maturity level of the two is very different; however, after some unfortunate accidents Pinky has some memory issues and the roommates will need to work harder to get along than ever...

"They're not my parents."

Robert Altman, director of MASH, The Player, Short Cuts, Gosford Park, Fool For Love, Popeye, A Wedding, Thieves Like Us, and Countdown, delivers 3 Women. The storyline for this picture is uneven but contains some great characters and acting. The plot is okay, but it is the acting that makes this film worthwhile. The cast includes Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule, and Craig Richard Nelson.

"They call them love apples but I don't love them."

I came across this a long time ago when it was first added to Netflix. I generally love these female grindhouse/Indi films, but this was a bit uneven for me. There were a few aspects I liked but the film could have been better overall.

"Last one to bed turns out the lights."

Grade: C
October 28, 2015
Robert Altman was on a creative roll by 1977 and thanks to a sympathetic studio head at 20th Century Fox he was able to make this brilliant piece of work from a dream he had when his wife was ill!!!!
The film deals with the roles of duality, change of personality and a film where men are secondary feeders to the lead women of the cast.
Sissy Spacek is Pinky a withdrawn and almost childlike woman who travels from Texas to California to work in a health spa.
While she is shown the job she meets Millie played by Shelly Duvall who is more outgoing and always talking despite the fact almost no one seems to be listening to what she says.
Pinky is intrigued by Millie and whenshe becomes her flat mate the film takes a turn for the surreal.
Millie lives in a world of yellow with her house and even her car colour coordinated.
She is also drawn to a derelict bar known as Dodge city
where local artist Wille (Janice Rule)lives with her macho husband.
Soon Millie takes and interest in the husband and Pinky commits an act which will change everything that has gone before.
Altman is at the peak of his power here paying homage to Bergmans Persona and adding his own off beat spin to the Women's genre film.
All 3 female leads are outstanding but for me Shelly Duvall walks away with the film .
Her performance as Millie is possibly the best thing she ever did and its a shame more people didn't see the film on its first release.
The film is an eerie and dreamlike masterpiece and its one of the directors very best works.
½ September 21, 2015
Altman's dream-induced 3 Women is as elusive and as unsettling as its inspiration most likely was, a strange and confounding piece of filmmaking that leaves much up to the interpretation of the audience. Although this sort of think often yields varying degrees of self-indulgent nonsense, luckily Altman's deftness behind the camera and the players' committed performances allow for an exciting experience reminiscent of the work of David Lynch, offering up any number of ideas about gender, the human sense of self, etc.
September 2, 2015
They often say that dreams don't usually make for good source material in art, but in the case of 3 Women, it led to a movie that remains nigh indescribable to this day. Director Robert Altman not only based the film around dreams he was having, but shot it without a full script and let improvisational material and an elliptic aura take precedence over plot. Still, the film is absolutely a complex story about female relationships, with Spacek and Duvall both giving morphing performances that bear a strong resemblance to those of Bergman's Persona. One of the most ambiguous and unexpected endings of 70s American cinema too, which might be enough for me to label this film pre-Lynchian.
May 22, 2015
Robert Altman's surreal film is one of the most haunting films of all time. This study of identity, isolation, loneliness and sexuality is pure cinematic magic. Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek are pitch-perfect. If you've not seen it, prepare yourself for a film completely unique and oddly disturbing.
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.
March 16, 2015
The two main characters, both named Mildred have emigrated from Texas to a small dusty Californian town off the highway that could pass for Texas -- the younger Mildred remarks, "Sure does look like Texas". The attention-seeking, loquacious Mildred #1, alias "Millie" (Shelley Duvall) struts around like a yellow canary on stage reminding me of Norma Desmond from Sunset Blvd with the same lack of self awareness. Obviously imitating what she's sees in the glamor magazines she reads. The clumsy naive Mildred #2, alias "Pinky" (Sissy Spacek) who's even more clueless mistakes Millie's bravado as confidence immediately becoming her sycophant says she is "the most perfect person I've met" until an unexpected turn of events challenges their fan-idol relationship and their identities. It is a final crisis that resolves their "identity crisis" in the end involving a third women, Willie (Janice Rule), an artist that paints a mural with groupings of reptilian anthropomorphic beasts that include a pregnant female (like herself) and an alpha male standing erect with his huge "cock" (maybe blurred in some copies) which I presume represents her cock sure husband and possibly lover to the pair of Mildreds. This very surreal film some what of a black tragicomedy (if you can force it into a genre at all) evolved from a dream director, Robert Altman had, so don't expect a nice neat traditional Hollywood ending. I loved the film! One of his best IMO. It explores the female psyche so well, its hard for me to believe a male developed this from his own dream. The film is also a time capsule from the 70s. Millie loves the color yellow, drives a "French" mustard colored Pinto ( not to be confused with English mustard, she corrects the cops as they look for her stolen car) and has an apartment decorated in a combination of slick mod and lacy kitschy furnishing, all in yellow. Lots of double knit halters and peasant blouses fill her closet, all in yellow, of course. This cult classic is worth viewing just for the trip back to the groovy years. Would someone please comment about the reptilian art? Who was actual the artist?
February 2, 2015
compelling. loved shelley duvall in this. the visuals creeped me out, especially towards the end.
January 9, 2015
Robert Altman is one seriously unpredictable filmmaker. He can make light-hearted, comedy of the mainstream like Popeye and Dr. T and Women, but then out of left field, he gives you something like this. A masterful art film. His versatility is worshiped in the film industry. Watching this film, you can see his extraordinary talent. It's one the most carefully prepared and well edited thrillers I've ever seen. The story is very common to film, it's execution is what makes it so fresh and entertaining. The film drones with it's repetitious soundtrack. It cuts back and forth to symbolic images. The performances from Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spackek are abnormal, and so is the environment they live in. How it compares to his other works, I don't know. But, to those who are avid Art-house filmgoers, or fans of the modern day Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson, cannot miss out on seeing this.
January 5, 2015
A very odd and unusual movieâ?¦but it was a VERY good movieâ?¦BRILLIANT actors and lots of dramatic scenes
½ November 12, 2014
Profoundly mysterious. Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek are amazing!
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