Opening Night Reviews

  • Nov 09, 2017

    Phew, I need to process this and probably rewatch it to have something meaningful to say but... Gena Rowlands forever. This is definitely another for the ol female anxiety movie list.

    Phew, I need to process this and probably rewatch it to have something meaningful to say but... Gena Rowlands forever. This is definitely another for the ol female anxiety movie list.

  • Jun 12, 2017

    Engrossing portrait of a middle-aged theatre star succumbing to mental breakdown after witnessing the sudden death of a young autograph hound during previews of a new play. Like a lot of Cassavetes' work it suffers from improvisational self-indulgence, but the truths it exposes, the fear of ageing, the loneliness at the heart of all existence, are eternal.

    Engrossing portrait of a middle-aged theatre star succumbing to mental breakdown after witnessing the sudden death of a young autograph hound during previews of a new play. Like a lot of Cassavetes' work it suffers from improvisational self-indulgence, but the truths it exposes, the fear of ageing, the loneliness at the heart of all existence, are eternal.

  • Feb 25, 2017

    At nearly two and a half hours, Husbands is a story without a story, depicting three men practically entirely in their very unhealthy friendship.

    At nearly two and a half hours, Husbands is a story without a story, depicting three men practically entirely in their very unhealthy friendship.

  • Nov 23, 2015

    Johnn Cassavetes just didn't give any fucks. He made serious movies for serious moviegoers looking for something profound and challenging. In that respect, Cassavetes was the antithesis of Hollywood: intimate, tough, but entirely compelling. Opening Night finds Cassavetes once again tailoring a role for his muse and wife Gena Rowlands. Lucky for him, she's a phenomenal actress. Here, as in A Woman Under The Influence, Rowlands plays a woman of great conviction who is losing her shit. What makes this movie different from that previous movie is this time Rowlands character is a narcissistic, dive like actress. After the accidental death of a fan in her proximity, Rowlands' Myrtle begins to unravel. She is forced to confront the chaos and loneliness of her life. She attends the girls' wake, she sees her wherever she goes, and she begins to lash out at everyone around her. Soon, the real issues come to the fore: aging and obscurity. Myrtle fears, as she gets older, not only will her roles dry up but she'll be typecast into certain, matronly roles. It's surprising how relevant this movie is today, where we cast 20 year olds as Harrison Ford's love interest and Marisa Tomei as a grandmother. Myrtle at one point says "Age doesn't have anything to do with anything," then follows that up with, "When I was 18, I could do anything," thus revealing that age does in fact matter to her. Opening Night finds Cassavetes and Rowlands at their most free and uninhibited, resulting in a funny, painful, profound film about aging and the artistry of aging.

    Johnn Cassavetes just didn't give any fucks. He made serious movies for serious moviegoers looking for something profound and challenging. In that respect, Cassavetes was the antithesis of Hollywood: intimate, tough, but entirely compelling. Opening Night finds Cassavetes once again tailoring a role for his muse and wife Gena Rowlands. Lucky for him, she's a phenomenal actress. Here, as in A Woman Under The Influence, Rowlands plays a woman of great conviction who is losing her shit. What makes this movie different from that previous movie is this time Rowlands character is a narcissistic, dive like actress. After the accidental death of a fan in her proximity, Rowlands' Myrtle begins to unravel. She is forced to confront the chaos and loneliness of her life. She attends the girls' wake, she sees her wherever she goes, and she begins to lash out at everyone around her. Soon, the real issues come to the fore: aging and obscurity. Myrtle fears, as she gets older, not only will her roles dry up but she'll be typecast into certain, matronly roles. It's surprising how relevant this movie is today, where we cast 20 year olds as Harrison Ford's love interest and Marisa Tomei as a grandmother. Myrtle at one point says "Age doesn't have anything to do with anything," then follows that up with, "When I was 18, I could do anything," thus revealing that age does in fact matter to her. Opening Night finds Cassavetes and Rowlands at their most free and uninhibited, resulting in a funny, painful, profound film about aging and the artistry of aging.

  • Jul 16, 2015

    Myrtle Gordon (Rowlands) is a theatre actress, who is headlining a play named "The Second Woman", directed by Manny Victor (Gazzara), written by Sarah Goode (Blondell) and co-stars Maurice Aarons (Cassavetes) and Gus Simmons (Tuell). Myrtle is not a nice woman, middle-aged, unmarried, and quite a big name in her line of work in light of the crazed groupies waiting for an autograph at the theatre, she is self-absorbing and emotionally unstable, especially when a young fan Nancy (Johnson) died in a horrific road accident after expressing her frenzied admiration. Myrtle's world begins to unravel, to a point where it seems to inevitably endanger the entire project on the opening night when Myrtle arrives seriously late and is beastly drunken. continue reading my review on my blog: http://wp.me/p1eXom-1X6

    Myrtle Gordon (Rowlands) is a theatre actress, who is headlining a play named "The Second Woman", directed by Manny Victor (Gazzara), written by Sarah Goode (Blondell) and co-stars Maurice Aarons (Cassavetes) and Gus Simmons (Tuell). Myrtle is not a nice woman, middle-aged, unmarried, and quite a big name in her line of work in light of the crazed groupies waiting for an autograph at the theatre, she is self-absorbing and emotionally unstable, especially when a young fan Nancy (Johnson) died in a horrific road accident after expressing her frenzied admiration. Myrtle's world begins to unravel, to a point where it seems to inevitably endanger the entire project on the opening night when Myrtle arrives seriously late and is beastly drunken. continue reading my review on my blog: http://wp.me/p1eXom-1X6

  • Mar 30, 2015

    good late career performance from the gr8 joan blondell

    good late career performance from the gr8 joan blondell

  • Mar 25, 2014

    This was one of the longest two and a half hours of my life... I mean that in a good way. This is my first Cassavetes film and hot damn am I impressed. Opening Night is a stubborn, arresting thing of beauty with an uncomfortable sense of intimacy and a style oozing with melancholy. Gena Rowlands is beyond words here. Seriously. Like, fuck. This is a performance of a lifetime. It's exhausting and features one of the most thoroughly unlikeable protagonists that I've ever seen, but it's also one of the most captivating cinematic experiences I've ever put myself though. Loved it.

    This was one of the longest two and a half hours of my life... I mean that in a good way. This is my first Cassavetes film and hot damn am I impressed. Opening Night is a stubborn, arresting thing of beauty with an uncomfortable sense of intimacy and a style oozing with melancholy. Gena Rowlands is beyond words here. Seriously. Like, fuck. This is a performance of a lifetime. It's exhausting and features one of the most thoroughly unlikeable protagonists that I've ever seen, but it's also one of the most captivating cinematic experiences I've ever put myself though. Loved it.

  • Dec 22, 2013

    Is the play the thing or the thing the play? Gena Rowlands so fully embraces her character it can be painful to watch. Filled with magical moments both real and surreal, Cassavetes' film always holds me spellbound.

    Is the play the thing or the thing the play? Gena Rowlands so fully embraces her character it can be painful to watch. Filled with magical moments both real and surreal, Cassavetes' film always holds me spellbound.

  • Dec 18, 2013

    Though critically panned during its time of release, "Opening Night" is one of John Cassavetes best films, albeit one of his most challenging.  The film is plagued with extreme close-ups, moments of complete ugliness, and the dark truths of life.  With any other filmmaker, it would be a pain to sit through, but the way Cassavetes presents everything, from the cinematography to the distinctly intimate acting style, is highly fascinating. Starring Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes wife and frequent collaborator, stars as Myrtle Gordon, an aging stage actress who begins to suffer mentally when a young fan (Laura Johnson) she meets get hit and killed by a car; Myrtle feels responsible.  Already a heavy smoker and drinker, she becomes ever more dependent, and as time wares on, her guilt causes her to begin hallucinating about the dead girl, which hurts the production of the play she's in. In any other director's hands, "Opening Night" would simply be another melodrama, possibly marking a comeback for a fading actress (a la Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard"). But Cassavates seems to want to, rather than entertain us, examine a woman who is declining mentally. At first, it's easy to point to the fact that Myrtle is an alcoholic, and that's single-handedly the reason why she is losing touch with reality. But it later becomes evident that she is actually struggling with the fact that she is getting older, her face filled with wrinkles and devoid of the beauty that once was there. When she sees her fan get killed, that's when the trigger is pulled. It's clear that Myrtle finds the young woman remarkably similar to her at that age - passionate, beautiful, and dramatic. She is seen in Myrtle's hallucinations, and in those moments, Johnson is dressed identically to Rowlands, pointing out that Myrtle's past is far behind her. Cassavetes gives the film a claustrophobic feeling that aids to the idea of its lead character's misery. Though she is successful, at any moment a different up-and-coming actress could steal her place at any moment. Even if much of the film itself is improvised, Cassavetes creates a tight atmosphere that seems ready to snap at nearly any moment. Rowlands, an actress singlehandedly most famous for her work with Cassavetes, turns in a performance so excellent that it could be seen as one of the most powerful and influential. A follow-up of sorts to her bravura turn in "A Woman Under the Influence", Rowlands is the main attraction. At times, the film can be a bit challenging, but she keeps us glued to the screen at all times. It isn't scenes with dialogue where she stands out; it's the quieter moments. All we can see is her face and body language, and we can see that there is a war going on inside her mind. Rowlands is so committed to the role and so focused, that even by the time "Opening Night" is over, we can't help but want to see more of her messy journey. The ensemble also includes veteran actress Joan Blondell in most likely her best role, and Ben Gazzara, both of which mesh perfectly with Rowlands' outrageousness. "Opening Night" may not always be easy, but by the end, you can't help but be in awe when considering the immense talent on display. A fantastic film, hands down.

    Though critically panned during its time of release, "Opening Night" is one of John Cassavetes best films, albeit one of his most challenging.  The film is plagued with extreme close-ups, moments of complete ugliness, and the dark truths of life.  With any other filmmaker, it would be a pain to sit through, but the way Cassavetes presents everything, from the cinematography to the distinctly intimate acting style, is highly fascinating. Starring Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes wife and frequent collaborator, stars as Myrtle Gordon, an aging stage actress who begins to suffer mentally when a young fan (Laura Johnson) she meets get hit and killed by a car; Myrtle feels responsible.  Already a heavy smoker and drinker, she becomes ever more dependent, and as time wares on, her guilt causes her to begin hallucinating about the dead girl, which hurts the production of the play she's in. In any other director's hands, "Opening Night" would simply be another melodrama, possibly marking a comeback for a fading actress (a la Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard"). But Cassavates seems to want to, rather than entertain us, examine a woman who is declining mentally. At first, it's easy to point to the fact that Myrtle is an alcoholic, and that's single-handedly the reason why she is losing touch with reality. But it later becomes evident that she is actually struggling with the fact that she is getting older, her face filled with wrinkles and devoid of the beauty that once was there. When she sees her fan get killed, that's when the trigger is pulled. It's clear that Myrtle finds the young woman remarkably similar to her at that age - passionate, beautiful, and dramatic. She is seen in Myrtle's hallucinations, and in those moments, Johnson is dressed identically to Rowlands, pointing out that Myrtle's past is far behind her. Cassavetes gives the film a claustrophobic feeling that aids to the idea of its lead character's misery. Though she is successful, at any moment a different up-and-coming actress could steal her place at any moment. Even if much of the film itself is improvised, Cassavetes creates a tight atmosphere that seems ready to snap at nearly any moment. Rowlands, an actress singlehandedly most famous for her work with Cassavetes, turns in a performance so excellent that it could be seen as one of the most powerful and influential. A follow-up of sorts to her bravura turn in "A Woman Under the Influence", Rowlands is the main attraction. At times, the film can be a bit challenging, but she keeps us glued to the screen at all times. It isn't scenes with dialogue where she stands out; it's the quieter moments. All we can see is her face and body language, and we can see that there is a war going on inside her mind. Rowlands is so committed to the role and so focused, that even by the time "Opening Night" is over, we can't help but want to see more of her messy journey. The ensemble also includes veteran actress Joan Blondell in most likely her best role, and Ben Gazzara, both of which mesh perfectly with Rowlands' outrageousness. "Opening Night" may not always be easy, but by the end, you can't help but be in awe when considering the immense talent on display. A fantastic film, hands down.

  • Nov 10, 2013

    Gena Rowlands gives one of the all-time-great performances in this hypnotic, dream-like film that is classic Cassavetes - weird but brilliant and unlike almost anything else in cinema.

    Gena Rowlands gives one of the all-time-great performances in this hypnotic, dream-like film that is classic Cassavetes - weird but brilliant and unlike almost anything else in cinema.