The Three Faces of Eve Reviews
*SPOILER* I kept thinking it would be revealed that the split was caused by her obviously abusive husband. I forgot that this movie was made in 1957 when stuff like that was a bit more tolerated.
Joanne Woodward's performance is 5 star all the way, but for me, the movie as a whole wasn't quite as fantastic. A lot of the supporting performances were sub-par for me and just took away from the overall enjoyment of the movie. As well, the movie plays as somewhat dated now which may have also influenced my enjoyment of it.
I think Ken Hanke of Mountain Xpress best summarizes my opinion of this film: "It once seemed daring[;] now it seems simplistic." At the time, 1957, this film probably portrayed a little-known condition with little-known Freudian treatment, so that the popular audience had to be assured of the subject's verisimilitude, hence the framing narrator vouching for the film's accuracy to a point that the narrator "doth protest too much methinks." But now, Eve's condition is portrayed more like Thing from another World with magical and threatening music toning in every time one of Eve's personalities appears. It becomes heavy-handed, and for an audience that has seen Raising Cain, among all the other films about multiple personalities, it's trite.
That said, Joanne Woodward is fantastic, fully creating each personality and delivering a performance that of the "they don't make 'em like that any more" variety. I also liked the film's feminist overtones. Ralph is an appropriate villain, and making him the villain, the film impugns patriarchal culture.
The story's construction is also faulty in parts. There's no need for Woodward's song, and who the hell is Earl? He suddenly appears like the deus ex machina he is, and we have no reason to think of him as a worthy goal.
Overall, The Three Faces of Eve is a film to see because it's a classic, but unlike most good classics, it has been imitated and refined to the point that it lost its originality and spark.
It begins with exposition. A man explains the details of the case and narrates, which is probably the film's only drawback. These parts make the film seem a little more boring than it has to, but it doesn't affect it much.
The best part of the movie is that it plays it as a real life problem. It's not an outline for a fun and zany romantic comedy where a man has to juggle three different personalities, it's a depressing and interesting story about a woman struggling to live her life with these difficulties.
The acting makes for a fabulous watch, as Woodward is able to turn these personae on and off at the drop of a hat. Her performance is a great reason to watch this complex drama.