3 Women - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

3 Women Reviews

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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!
September 7, 2014
part drama, part comedy, part horror even.
slow but not tedious watch. bizarre but in an enthralling way.
August 10, 2014
a forgotten masterpiece.
½ June 4, 2014
3 women is something of an artistic success... the fact someone (even Altman) could get away with making it is almost as surreal as the film itself. There is a sort of balance the movie reaches, between these moments of concrete, banal, real human beings living their lives and these impressions, that come to life in between. Ultimately, the movie doesn't fully succeed... the first hour is relatively uneventful, the characters are largely unlikable... but there is something in it that disturbs, and awakens a lot of complex feelings ad thoughts from the viewer.
½ June 2, 2014
Robert Altman's 3 Women is a surreal pre-cursor art film to Single White Female, but it also has a lot lurking beneath the surface. The film's first half is slow and steady, only ramping up the tension and weirdness for the finale half. There are lots of hidden meanings and themes, which is surprising because Altman came up with this movie from a dream and improvised most of the script and dialogue. I felt myself not being able to stay concentrated on the film, as its non-linear plot is different. The movie has some fantastic imagery and subtlety, but it doesn't mean its not boring because it is.
May 28, 2014
I thought this would be a humdrum, 'slice of life' movie, but it's really quite unusual.
May 6, 2014
i really don't like this movie. i find it off-putting and not in a particularly provocative way. altman says it was a dream he had, and he just kinda winged it. admirable and apparently successful, just not something i got anything out of.
½ April 20, 2014
It gets extra points for originality. Duvall & Spacek are superb as the two leads. The film captures awkward isolation perfectly. Especially from Duvall who is painful to watch in the best way possible. Her choices are quirky and painfully honest. No wonder she won Best Actress at Cannes. Altman may be referencing Persona a little throughout. I love how the film has more to do with emotion and feeling, rather than story. Much is left open to interpretation but thanks to a haunting and brilliant score (typical of the 70's), there's a mood that unsettles and makes us feel the characters alienation and discomfort. One could even interpret this film as if all three women are in fact the same person (like Lynch's Mulholland Drive). The re-occurring images of mirrors and water reflections possibly illustrate this. There's also plenty of clues. No one hardly notices them. Do they both actually even work at her job? Spacek uses Duvall's work card, shares her SIN number, takes her man, her car, clothes and even job. The third woman is the most mysterious (and featured the least) but perhaps all three of them represent a different side to the same personality.
½ April 10, 2014
3 Women (1977) - 9

Willie, Millie, Pinky.
Willie is asocial and bitter, a mysterious woman who runs a bar where Millie and Pinky hang out with cops. She spends most of her time alienated in her intriguing and unsettling mural paintings which seem to fascinate Pinky. Willie is pregnant. Millie is a fulfilled young woman working at an health spa for the elderly and living in a small apartment rented to Willie. She is extremely confident of her attractiveness towards men and is strangely outgoing and communicative despite the fact that others severely neglect her. Pinky resembles a teenager, she displays almost childlike naivety and impulsiveness. Admitted as a new worker in the spa, she develops a very strong affection for Millie as the older employee guides Pinky through her new job. Pinky willingly becomes Millie's roommate.

The roles and relationships between these three women will undergo a metamorphosis as the events unravel and a final hierarchy will be reached. Reality will change as well, a certain degree of abnormality is visible in human relations. Hilarious, heartbreaking and disturbing social dichotomies coexist with all naturality, things that hardly fit within the frame of a real and concrete world. The absurdist aura omnipresent since the beginning intensifies until the movie truly assumes it's dreamylike nature that leaves us perplexed in the end. The thing is, the relationship between the three women is the reality of the film. The bleak landscape of a small desert city somewhere in California can either morph into a poetically beautiful window or into a crude stage of a surreal psychological Thriller/Drama of great emotional power. Top-notch (in large part improvised!) interpretations from Shelley Duvall (the director's muse) and Sissy Spacek, as good as the brilliant camera, photography and sound work. This fascinating and mysterious movie was literally born from a Robert Altman dream and it shows the talent of this great master of cinema. A beautiful cult film, I think it deserves more attention. I loved it and highly recommend it!
March 31, 2014
I expected just another good Altman, with crossing stories, neurotic pondering and americana gothic punches. The 3rd element is there, but this is so much more.... Its way out there, almost scary.Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek both deserves high praise for their work here; they have made together something pretty unique (yes there are strong undercurrents of ''persona'' but its its own thing). I never thought id say such a thing but it seems big parts of David Lynch sprought right out of this creative universe by Altman. And this is a very solid 5.
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.
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