3 Women - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

3 Women Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 7, 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 February 4, 2014
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.
½ January 7, 2014
This was Ebert's best movie for 1977. As the phrase goes, I want what he was smoking. Really good acting though.
November 19, 2013
This film did not engage me initially. The introduction of some "eerie" music at odd times seemed almost too much. I think I would have preferred that it be left out altogether. Surprising turn of events. Did not like it as much as Short Cuts but found it interesting and thought-provoking.
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 November 12, 2013
Fucking trippy. Amazing though, the pacing is perfect.
½ October 20, 2013
Had to give it 1/2 a star in order to give it a review... THIS SUCKED! TOTALLY WHACK!!
August 13, 2013
An elliptical, strange, and surreal descent into a distinctly American nightmare of shifting personalities and psychological damage. After multiple viewings, I still don't know exactly what it's about, nor can I explain how or why things happen. But that's the point. It defies synopsis. Here the images, symbolism, and characterizations are more important than actual narrative.
½ June 4, 2013
one of my fave robert altman flicks
April 12, 2013
Possibly my favorite film. Certainly in the top 5.
April 1, 2013
Beautiful narrative were the surrealist aspects seem to be the most prevalent in the personalities than any thing else in the film.
March 23, 2013
I'll admit it; I almost couldn't get through 3 WOMEN. When I reached a point where I was sure it was 90 minutes into the film, I put it on pause, and saw that I had only seen 45 minutes. It is monumentally slow-moving. It is also intensely creepy, and after that initial 45 minutes or so, it began to work on me. Not in an altogether pleasant way, but it was very effective nonetheless.

3 WOMEN introduces us to mostly to 2 women. We meet Pinky Rose (Sissy Spacek, only a year after CARRIE), a new nurse coming to work at a strange, dusty, underpopulated Southern California town in an old-folks convalescence home of some sort. There she meets Millie (Shelly Duvall), an experienced nurse assigned to show her the ropes. Pinky is delighted to be attached to Millie, because she has clearly taken a deep and intense interest in Millie. Millie talks almost non-stop and we see early on that she has alienated almost everyone around her with her incessant chatter and her self-delusion. She fancies herself a bit of party animal, a gal-about-town. In fact, everyone avoids her and all of the "dates" she thinks she might have never materialize. She's one of these people (we've all met them) who we feel sorry for, yet are so irritating to be around, we just hope someone else will befriend them. Pinky, however, sees none of that. She's from a small Texas town and is so deeply naïve that she clings to the "worldly" Millie and idolizes her. And slowly, she begins to obsess over her. And she pries into Millie's private life.

This doesn't sound all that interesting, and in many ways, it isn't. But writer/director Robert Altman is taking these two ladies on a strange psychological journey. What I've described is just the beginning. I don't want to tell you more, because it's all a bit open to interpretation, and if you decide to take the sometimes grueling journey that is 3 WOMEN, you should interpret for yourself. But one easy, even glib, description that comes to mind is to call the film an "artsy SINGLE WHITE FEMALE."

The film is full of Altman touches, particularly the improvised style of dialogue and the overlapping conversations. It is in these overlapping voices that we hear the mockery which most people shower directly on Millie. Millie is so eager for acceptance, to have even a hint that the life she imagines for herself is true, that she willingly endures derision in the hope of breaking through. I have to admit that I've never been a huge Shelley Duvall fan, but this is the best performance I've seen by her. She manages, at various times, to be touching, sad, laughable, irritating, competent, crazy. Altman often gives his female stars some really meaty roles to chew on, and he really did here. Spacek is also quite captivating. It's amazing she was ever able to break out of the crazy, naïve girl role after this film and CARRIE. She fits it to a tee...but as the film progresses, Pinky's character undergoes some unexpected transformations, and Spacek handles it all with ease.

I watched the Criterion Blu-Ray, and the picture quality was excellent. Filmed in the late `70s, the film has that unmistakable look of that era...a color palette that wants to be gritty and realistic and still retain some of the richness of Technicolor. The Blu-ray gets all that perfectly. The sound mix was excellent, but I have to say that the score for this film was literally the most annoying ever. I know that's not much of a useful comment, but I think my ears are still ringing from being stabbed by those awful sounds. The extras on the Blu-ray are a little skimpy, in my opinion, especially for a relatively modern film. There's a sparse commentary from Altman (which I only listened to pieces of), a brief essay that sheds little light on the film, and some trailers & stills. I would have LOVED to have heard a commentary from Duvall & Spacek.

It's hard to recommend this film. It moves slowly and it's very internalized. But a viewer with some patience may find some creepy rewards in watching the relationship between these two women (in two really fine performances) grow in unexpected and disquieting ways.
½ March 10, 2013
My first real look at Altman's work. Very interesting indeed. I loved just how demented each character was, in their own different ways. Great performances all round but I especially liked Shelley Duvall. She's best known for the Shining, course, but what a hugely underrated talent. My favourite moment was when she descended down the stairs of the apartment wearing a bizarre yellow hooded-robe/onesie type thing hear rumor that she is herself in a poor mental state of mind these days. I hope not and very sad indeed if true. I felt this movie moved along remarkably fast for a story that is not packed with events.
February 14, 2013
In a suffocatingly desolate setting we will witness a series of inexplicable, uncomfortable and unsettling confrontations, played out in the psyche, first and foremost, and then reflected in the 'tangible' world. One woman, Millie, wading through her lonely middle aged life, welcomes Pinky into that life, a mildly threatening yet utterly childlike, even alien, presence. Pinky latches onto Millie's superficial world as if its the very first glimpse of human life she's ever gotten a clear view of. And the two of them in turn wade through the world of another, older woman, pregnant and painting in the desert. Altman has fashioned a film of sensations. To watch it is to decipher its barrage of minute detail about the world it illustrates, to walk away from it is to feel things about what you've seen that throw it into some kind of light. Its always a kind of game being played between you and it. And its also a film of subjective interpretation. I'm always left with an image of a Russian nesting doll, these females absorbing one another in a barren edge of the world. Willie is a silent yet stoic, almost witchy figure who is literally illustrating her own world with metaphors for what will occur, who knows more than the other two and is simply waiting and creating on the sidelines of the film. Millie is caught in between, striving and trying to give herself a meaning in a world that is constantly ejecting her, bouncing her back and forth between the bar and the apartment complex, both owned by Willie and marked by her stark, confrontational depictions of the truths of Millie's world, ones she doesn't allow herself to see yet, lest they be too painful. And then there's the insidious invasion of Pinky, the stone tossed into the pond to make it ripple. She is rebellion and naivete. And she sets the ball rolling for the mysterious events that will lead these three women to their final formation. This is a hugely important American film, and one of its most improbable.
January 13, 2013
feels like a lame Persona riddled with clichés.
½ January 1, 2013
"3 Women", del gran Robert Altman, contiene un poder indescriptible que se manifiesta casi desde sus primeras escenas. Aun cuando Altman retrata lo mundano, existe un aire de misterio involucrando a sus protagonistas (en especial con el personaje de Pinky quien se obsesiona con Millie, aunque toda su vida sea una pose y nadie mas la quiera). La cinta se torna surreal y sus ultimas escenas nos brindan un significado aun mas abstracto de su relacion (y aun no he mencionado a la tercera mujer Willie, una artista embarazada que vive casi en eterno silencio).
"3 Women" es una extraordinaria película que funge casi como un sueño en el cine. Con estupendas actuaciones y personajes inolvidables, es otro clasico de Robert Altman. Sumamente recomendable.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2012
Inspired more by Bergman than by a dream, 3 Women is a strikingly nightmarish take on alternate personalities and how psychological patterns are shaped through uncontrollable circumstances. Eerie imagery is presented throughout with the purpose of symbolically speaking what neither the screenplay nor the characters can't, yet they remind us of meanings we must take into consideration, even if we meditate about them in our sleep. It is better to know the least about the movie as possible so it can speak more strongly in its first viewing. Quite possibly Altman's best.

Back in noir times, Carol Reed intrigued us about who the third man was. Altman does the same now with women, but does not answer directly. The mystery is solved by itself.

December 27, 2012
It was fine till the last like 6 mins out of 2 hours......
What the heck did I just watch.... 0_o I am SOOO lost :p
½ December 11, 2012
A leisurely paced, haunting masterpiece. Stupendous acting by Spacek and Duvall! This film is like a diaphanous piece of lace blowing in the wind.... Mesmerizing stuff!
December 1, 2012
probably the weirdest and creepiest 70's movie I've had the pleasure of watching
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