Love Streams - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Love Streams Reviews

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June 3, 2016
Love Streams is a fine film about kooky characters that mostly convey a natural wisdom when they aren't just punch-drunk mad.
February 10, 2016
John Cassavetes' beautifully shot and acted penultimate (essentially his final "proper") film is an essay on cynicism, responsibility and the nature of love as a binding agent in human relationships - among other things, depending on your state of mind when you watch it. Cassavetes and his real-life wife, Gena Rowlands, don't so much portray siblings, each with their own serious issues, as they completely inhabit and breathe the air of these characters. The cinematography is sublime. Arguably Cinéma Vérité by definition, Cassavetes' direction, pacing and atmosphere invite us to view this film as a window into one brief moment of the lives of these characters, and as such the film, like most of Cassavetes' work as director, eschews standard film making conventions such as foreground scoring and traditional plot development. The atmosphere is steeped in the bewildering, appalling and at times comic behaviour and experiences of the characters. This isn't entertainment delivered in three courses, it's a challenging, provocative and ultimately rewarding exploration of the lives of two characters, filmed with an incredible mastery of natural light and composition. A truly remarkable film.
½ January 14, 2016
It was wonderful seeing John Cassavetes and wife Gena Rowlands play brother and sister, each with serious sanity issues, in 'Love Streams' (I had only previously seen them together in the stellar 'Opening Night', my favourite Cassavetes film), from a script he co-wrote with the author of the 1980 stage play, Ted Allan (Cassavetes' character, Robert Harmon, was originally played by Jon Voight on stage). While his earliest film, 'Shadows', is least pleasing to me simply because I don't feel his cast there was of the quality necessary to handle that large degree of spontaneity and improvisation, by two decades later, he had refined (and perhaps perfected) his approach, and it's a great day for the two stars as well as stock company mainstay Seymour Cassel, who's always a treat to see. I strongly urge that if you have a sibling you love but currently have problems relating with, to take the time, watch the film with them, and learn something about yourself. This is probably the finest moment of Golan-Globus Films as well...
½ December 2, 2015
It has been a long time since a movie effected me in such an emotional way. What's more, it didn't make me emotional during the film but hours later. As I mulled over the film the full emotional weight of what I'd just watched hit me. This is Cassavetes most confounding work but it also may be his most emotional. As always, Rowlands and himself give masterful performances as two emotionally wounded siblings who find themselves in major crises. Cassavetes doesn't let us even know they are siblings until Rowlands' Sarah has been with Cassavetes for some time. Plus, by films end, I'm not sure if either were in a better or clearer place. Still, Love Streams is about the action. It's about the things we do, sometimes desperate, for love and for the ones we love. In that instance, it's a classic Cassavetes film and a classic Cassavetes theme. "Do you believe love is a constant stream?"
October 20, 2015
This is a late great work of a master director. It is one of the most original films I have ever seen, though Cassavetes work was mostly improvised and so always had a spontaneous and creative feel. Love Streams is so good because it is the work of a highly creative mind at the height of his talents. It is haunting in its depiction of an unusual brother and sister and their love for each other and for family (in the case of the sister played by the great Gena Rowlands in a beautiful, though at times scary, performance.) More than anything it is a study of the meaning of love itself. The look of the film and the editing alone make this one worth watching.
July 30, 2015
While it might not be the best of John Cassavetes' work, there is something really extraordinary about "Love Streams." It is unexpected to see him attempt a movie that plays around so much with 'style' and more than a little Surrealism. It sometimes feels like much of the "avant-garde" is mix of intention and budget limitations. This might be his most experimental film.

Some times this movie soars, other times it stumbles. The thrills and flaws are equally interesting to watch. Cassavetes's "Robert" is a bit of cliche. A street smart "ladies man" who is out to work every angle to his advantage. Robert's interesting flaw is that he is aware that he has become a cliche and a train wreck. When his estranged sister arrives at his door with a car full of luggage that seems to never end. Robert's sister, Sarah, has a lot of baggage. Fighting to save her dead marriage and secure custody of her daughter she is more of a mess than her brother.

As was often the case, Gena Rowland is the magic core of the movie. She plays this character with a desperate and sometimes manic energy. We are never sure if "Sarah" is sane or more than a little crazy. But we do come to understand something about her that is essential.

Among a cast of "lost" characters who form her family, she might be the most "eccentric" and "unhinged" --- she contains a truth of identity, family and life: She understand the all importance of "love." As she says during one of her desperate rants to save her family she tells us that "love streams." It just streams and we need to follow it's current. In another magical scene she desperately tries to crack a smile from her annoyed daughter and frustrated soon-to-be ex-husband.

Robert and Sarah are lost, but not without hope. Hope offered by the possibility of love. Of course, this was always Cassavetes career-long theme: Characters seeking, needing and demanding love.

In the world of "Love Streams" love may not be attainable, but no one has a choice but to reach for it. As Cassavetes leads us to a truly "operatic" crescendo, we can't help but be entranced.

It may not qualify as a true cinematic masterpiece, but this is an important film. Most especially for those of us who love John Cassavetes and his muse, Gena Rowlands, -- this movie is essential Film Art.
January 9, 2015
John Cassavetes's career of risk taking comes to a climax in this rich, original, emotionally magnificent 1984 film.
December 13, 2014
O que distingue John Cassavetes tem tudo a ver com a tremenda coragem que o realizador aplica na sua análise dos mais complexos sentimentos humanos (amor, afecto, a procura de estabilidade). Na s mais delicadas zonas do drama, onde tantos outros realizadores hesitaram (por vezes até para nos protegerem do desconforto que é vermo-nos a nós próprios), Cassavetes avançou recorrendo a quantidades semelhantes de atrevimento, sensibilidade e vontade de retratar as pessoas como seres frágeis e não como super-humanos (conforme acontece numa indústria que ele próprio abominava). "Love Streams", derradeiro projecto de Cassavetes filmado com dinheiro da Cannon (?!), representa portanto o culminar de toda a experiência e sabedoria acumuladas por um autor que desde cedo se comprometeu com o cinema essencialmente focado na dimensão emocional das pessoas. Escrito com base numa peça de teatro e condensado em 140 minutos, "Love Streams" dificilmente conseguiria um melhor sumário das principais marcas de Cassavetes: há o habitual passeio pela vida aos trambolhões por parte dos que não se adaptaram à rotina familiar, há ecos fortes de "Faces" (talvez o seu melhor filme), há a imagem das "escadas" como símbolo para a flutuação inevitável nas relações entre homem e mulher, pais e filhos. Há também uma sequência de sonho que por si só coloca Gena Rowlands num panteão só dela. Assim que termina "Love Streams", e depois de todo o percurso Cassavetes que o antecedeu, a sensação é a de que mudámos. E filmes que provocam esse tipo de mudança é coisa muito rara.
½ December 11, 2014
Occasionally frustrating but still worthwhile film from John Casevettes & comp. Here we see the complex relationship between a Brother & sisiter who in the midst their adulthood are just learning to love each other
½ November 26, 2014
A cigarette in one hand with a drink in the other, Robert Harmon (John Cassavetes) is surrounded by a group of young women. With false smiles on their faces and eyes that long to be anywhere else, we're quick to realize that they're prostitutes. But Robert doesn't long for sex nor does he have a fixation on women with cheap makeup and a money-hungry disposition. He is so lonely that clothing himself in hookers and alcohol warms him from the cold, calculated exhibitions that plague his existence.
In his glory days, he was a successful romance novelist. Womanizing was a hobby rather than a career. But the film shows him years later, completely washed up, selfish, and alone in his sprawling, wine glass covered mansion.
"What is a good time?" he desperately asks one of his companions. He isn't making conversation to get to know her; it seems that he is so starved for happiness that he wonders if there's some new formula for euphoria that he simply isn't aware of. When she meekly replies that sex is a good time (she doesn't even seem to believe it herself), disappointment floods over Robert's eyes. The disappointment isn't the sweet, forgivable kind that a child faces when a field trip is canceled. It instead feels like someone is telling him that the person he loves most has died, and afterwards, he gets punched in the face.
"Love Streams" was John Cassavetes' last film, and it's most certainly his most melancholy and reflective. Months before it was made, Cassavetes was informed that he was suffering from a terminal illness and had only six months to live. The sadness in his demeanor feels so true that Robert himself seems like a mutated autobiographical character. Robert's dying is not physical but emotional - his wonder years are far past him, and success and contentment have been replaced by crippling depression and booze.
Mirroring Robert's numbness is his sister Sarah (Gena Rowlands). In the middle of a divorce and back from a recent stay at a mental institution, Sarah is miserable but can't admit it to herself. Her daughter despises her; her husband has had enough. A psychiatrist recommends she take a lover or visit another country; in one of the film's most brutally funny scenes, Sarah arrives at a French train station, 10+ bags in tow, begging a confused security guard to help her carry them to her destination.
Rowlands is a severely underrated actress, one that carries an oddball charisma on her shoulders and a slightly screwball attitude. In "Love Streams," Rowlands looks like a faded Hollywood actress from the '50s; her blonde hair is curled and as big as her body, she wears glamorous outfits, even if she's dressing for no one, and she treats every situation as if she were a loony Bette Davis.
Later in the film, Robert and Sarah collide with brute force; after her unsuccessful trip to Europe, she randomly shows up at his house. He treats her like she's a sort of God; she fills his hollow void and is finally given a chance to utilize her clinginess.
"Love Streams" is about crazy, manic people, but Cassavetes makes it clear that they didn't begin as crazy people. Life turned them that way, whether it be through excessive living or a unrealistic expectation for love. The film is hard to sit through, as Cassavetes gives us no breathing room and clutters our eyes with an abundance of close-ups. Yet its unpredictability and stabbing laughs make it more than just a regular slice-of-life drama; some scenes are so bizarre that it makes the situation seem ever more realistic. After all, people don't always act like movie characters. The actors act as if there are no cameras in their midst, and that's one of the reasons "Love Streams" is so painful.
You want there to be a happy-go-lucky resolution; you want Robert and Sarah to find a way to curb their wounds. But Cassavetes is too fickle for that. These aren't the kind of people who will commit suicide to escape their troubles. They're people that don't even realize how messed up they are; in that sense, they'll never be able to change. You don't leave "Love Streams" in love or with a romanticized notion of drama; you're stunted.
½ August 14, 2014
Although not of his strongest films, there is cinematic magic in "Love Streams" -- particularly due to the presence of his wife/muse, Gena Rowlands. The structure of the story is a bit too loose and it runs longer than it should. But the gift of creating memorable characters with committed actors remains fully intact. A film of note.
July 1, 2014
Well done but wildly uneven film with great acting, which compensates for the unevenness of the film. Rowlands and Cassavetes are in top form here. It is now thankfully part of The Criterion Collection.
January 6, 2013
I love Cassavetes but this film didnt grab me like his others, and I felt it lost it course in the last 20 minutes.
November 14, 2012
NAGOYA CINEMATHEQUE, 2012/11/15
November 10, 2012
You never know exactly how you feel about a John Cassavetes film until long after it's over. Just as it should be! He makes me think more than any other filmmaker, and yet he rides on pure gut emotion. Like everything he made before Love Streams, it directly provokes us, because we never know where we stand or what will happen next. I feel that's a unique strength that's difficult to achieve. There's a euphoria in this gut-wrenching ebb and flow through scenes that come out of nowhere. There's a knotting in our stomachs with every desperate bid for affection that we witness. Culminating in arguably the most poignant and powerful final shot of his pioneering career as a director, the movie hums with the feeling that Cassavetes knew this could very will be his last; it's also his most musical film since his first.
½ October 28, 2012
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½ June 1, 2012
As expected with a Cassavetes film there's some really wonderful acting, the man himself gives perhaps his finest performance and while Rowlands isn't quite the power house she is some other films she still does great. The film presents a variety of broken up relationships, breaks the 4th wall a bit, and pretty much epitomizes itself with Cassavetes saying "Life is a series of suicides, divorces, promises broken, children smashed, whatever." That said not all of the situations are equally interesting and it's a bit overlong.
February 4, 2012
My overall favorite John Cassevetes film. It's simply mesmerizing from start to finish and surprisingly so with how difficult and particular these characters are. What an outstanding achievement in acting this is.
½ August 4, 2011
Can't say I enjoyed the dream/musical elements very much at all. It couldn't have evoked less out of me.

That being said, I found the bond between brother and sister fascinating. Their dilemmas/lifestyles provide an interesting contrast when allowed to clash. It didn't awe me with the psychological depth of Faces or Husbands, but it had the charm of Minnie and Moskowitz. Like all of his films, because of the unpredictable nature of the story, it's hard to completely figure out how you feel until you see it again.
June 20, 2011
A masterclass in acting, direction and editing. John Cassavettes was truly one of the best american director in the last century.
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