In the coal mining region of Pennsylvania, Wanda Goronski is constantly drinking to shut out the problems in her life. Having deserted her husband and infant children, Wanda sleeps on her ... See full summary »
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In the coal mining region of Pennsylvania, Wanda Goronski is constantly drinking to shut out the problems in her life. Having deserted her husband and infant children, Wanda sleeps on her sister's couch - when she isn't sleeping with the latest man who bought her a drink - and is unemployed with no long term job prospect. Her drinking and her life in combination have made her an emotionless woman. Her life changes when she meets Norman Dennis in a bar. She initially believes he's the bartender, but in reality he's a petty criminal who just held up the bar in question. Even after she learns Mr. Dennis' occupation and despite he treating her poorly, she willingly goes along with him and his petty crimes as a way to get through life. Mr. Dennis, on the other hand, sees her as a conduit to bigger and better things. Although things don't turn out quite the way either of the two envision, Wanda does at least begin to feel once again. Written by
Not an easy film to like, but one ends up admiring it anyhow...
Barbara Loden, the wife of film director Elia Kazan, wrote, directed, and stars in this portrait of a born loser in blue-collar Pennsylvania. Wanda is the perfect bad example: she's poorly educated, unemployed, a doormat for any available man...and when she walks into a bar one night to use the bathroom, she has no idea the lone man inside is actually robbing the place. Loden, who looks like a bedraggled version of Joanne Woodward in some of her hick roles, also helped to raise the funds for this picture, which played film festivals and garnered good critical buzz yet wasn't widely distributed. The uneven sound is fuzzy, the camera-work is all over the place, and the lenient editing allows scenes to ramble on far longer than necessary (also the baby screaming during the film's opening five minutes was a big mistake). However, despite these serious faults, the movie has a realistically squalid, hopeless ambiance that is, at times, touching, pathetic, ingenuous, and very natural. A bumpy ride, but worthwhile for fans of character studies. ** from ****
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