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With: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Fred Draper, Lady Rowlands, Katherine Cassavetes, Matthew Laborteaux, Matthew Cassel, Christina Grisanti
Written by: John Cassavetes
Directed by: John Cassavetes
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 146
Date: 11/18/1974

A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

She's So Unusual

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Gena Rowlands received an Oscar nomination for her harrowing portrayal of housewife and mother Mabel Longhetti. Mabel gets anxious in social situations and behaves a little strangely, so her husband Nick (Peter Falk) has her committed. Yet, in a particularly agonizing trip to the beach with his kids, we see that Nick is just as anxious and strange, and indeed, that stress feeds upon itself and anyone can succumb to it. A Woman Under the Influence is brutal stuff, a howling cry of pain and a condemnation of society and its view anything that may be different. But writer and director John Cassavetes -- who received a Best Director nomination -- stretches out his movie into several very long group scenes that show the intricacies of behavior and how crazily moods can fluctuate, and that it's all only human.

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