A Woman Under the Influence Reviews
John Cassavetes was a revolutionary artist, and a true maverick of American independent cinema, and this may be his masterpiece.
becareful with culture programming. socially accepted attachments / obsessions
A Woman Under the Influence is the story of Mabel Longhetti (played by Gena Rowlands - wife to the director), a suburban wife and mother, who is mentally unstable. She's crazy, and unusual, which you can see from the start. And her husband, Nick (played by Peter Falk - our generation may know him as the grandfather in The Princess Bride), sends her away to a mental institution for six months.
This film is full of so much emotion, and that is partly because of the budget. Budgets are something that matter when it comes to these types of films. The budget calls for things to be simpler - costumes and sets, props and makeup, music and lighting, and so on. For example, the house in the movie was an actual house that they borrowed for the movie. They didn't go out and build a new house because it simply wasn't in the budget.
(A Woman Under the Influence was a low budget movie, costing only $500,000 to make. This is a drastically lower budget than, say, The Godfather: Part II - which came out the same year - with a budget of $13,000,000.)
The movie almost seems like a more realistic reality to me because the budget was so low. There are no special effects, no fancy lighting techniques, no fancy sets; everything is raw and natural, which makes the aesthetic of the movie so unique.
This movie, like other independent films, is a work of art that captures something real, and address things that large budget, big-hit blockbusters do not address. Movies from that time never really addressed mental illness in the way A Woman Under the Influence does, or any way for that matter, which is one reason that this movie makes such a good film: it challenges the conventional way that mental illness was being portrayed in mass media.
I absolutely recommend this movie. Though, I'll admit it's not for everyone, it sure is a film that lovers of independent films should watch. It's sad, it's dark, and it's a rollercoaster of emotion, leaving you with teary, yet opened eyes. The film is a work of art, just as an Independent movie should be.