3 Women Reviews
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.
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.
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."
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.