A Woman Under the Influence 1975

A Woman Under the Influence

Critics Consensus

Electrified by searing performances from Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk, A Woman Under the Influence finds pioneering independent filmmaker John Cassavetes working at his artistic peak.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 31

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,208

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Movie Info

Mabel Longhetti (Gena Rowlands), desperate and lonely, is married to a Los Angeles municipal construction worker, Nick (Peter Falk). Increasingly unstable, especially in the company of others, she craves happiness, but her extremely volatile behavior convinces Nick that she poses a danger to their family and decides to commit her to an institution for six months. Alone with a trio of kids to raise on his own, he awaits her return, which holds more than a few surprises.

Cast & Crew

Gena Rowlands
Mabel Longhetti
Peter Falk
Nick Longhetti
Lady Rowlands
Martha Mortensen
Fred Draper
George Mortensen
Matthew Labyorteaux
Angelo Longhetti
Matthew Cassel
Tony Longhetti
Christina Grisanti
Maria Longhetti
Sam Shaw
Producer
Bo Harwood
Original Music
Mitch Breit
Cinematographer
Caleb Deschanel
Cinematographer
David Armstrong
Film Editor
Beth Bergeron
Film Editor
Tom Cornwell
Film Editor
Robert Heffernan
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for A Woman Under the Influence

Critic Reviews for A Woman Under the Influence

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (3)

  • Cassavetes makes the viewer's frustration work as part of the film's expressiveness; it has an emotional rhythm unlike anything else I've ever seen.

    February 7, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Like steep hill climbs, John Cassavetes's films can be jolly hard work, but the view from the top is worth it.

    February 7, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The primal violence that binds men and woman has rarely been evoked as plausibly or intensely as in this 1974 drama.

    May 3, 2013 | Full Review…
  • One of Cassavetes' best films, with a suitably ambiguous title for a plot that manages to be political in its social implications without succumbing to any crass statements.

    November 17, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Falk and Rowlands -- in performances of almost indescribable intensity -- detail a marriage anchored by love, but tossed by the expectations of others and the unpredictable swell of madness.

    March 29, 2011

    Keith Phipps

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Falk and the rest of the cast are exceptional -- even the smallest roles feel spot-on -- but Rowlands is the film.

    October 20, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Woman Under the Influence

  • Jun 21, 2013
    A Cassavetes film is something to truly behold and particularly a Cassavetes film involving his life partner Gena Rowlands. The meltdown of a family unit has become commonplace in many modern films but it was unique for the time and Cassavetes was truly a ground breaker.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2013
    Dysfunction can be so awesomely painful to watch. Aside: props for all the Hamms spotlights!
    Ed K Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2013
    A Woman Under the Influence is a film I've been meaning to catch for a good while now. It's about a broken home, or perhaps the end was implying that this was a normal home, either way it's about a home. In this home there's a wife, a husband, and three kids. It couldn't be more normal, except the wife is coo-koo, and the husband is an abusive prick. Both had amazing performances, but especially Gena Rowlands. If you've seen the 2010 film Blue Valentine the style is incredibly similar. I think the main draw back of the film is that it tried to be too genuine. I was shocked by the realistic feel, but I was noticing so much that I never viewed this as a real family. It never left just a movie zone for me, which I think is contrary of the intent. I felt that the film could have been trimmed down some, but the length wasn't to big of a deal. The problem was the over kill of realism, and trying to show a regular family with there baggage, been better if Cassavates toned down trying to make it 100% life like.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2012
    One of the finest independent films out there, "A Woman Under the Influence" is a thought-provoking, ably directed and forcefully acted family drama that works just as well today as it did when it was first released, even if the subject matter isn't nearly as shocking. Both Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk have brave, completely moving performances that rank with some of the cinema's best and most realistic ones, and the scenes they share feel incredibly honest. "A Woman Under the Influence" still resonates with today's audiences, but its story doesn't justify its cumbersome length, which can be ponderous at times. Nevertheless, John Cassavetes' powerful tale of mental illness and domestic abuse is an accomplished work and a true stepping stone for independent cinema.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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