MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 246 this week

A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

 -  Drama  -  18 November 1974 (USA)
8.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 10,707 users  
Reviews: 90 user | 75 critic

Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.

Director:

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Fall TV Premiere Week

Many of your favorite shows are coming back, along with plenty of series premieres. Here's a list of the shows premiering between Sunday, September 21 and Friday, September 26.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 13 Dec 2011
 
a list of 42 titles
created 28 Jul 2013
 
a list of 44 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 44 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 41 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

A Woman Under the Influence (1974) on IMDb 8.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A Woman Under the Influence.
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Opening Night (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An actress suffers an emotional uproar in her personal life after a fan dies trying to see her.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara
Faces I (1968)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An old married man leaves his wife for a younger woman. Shortly after, his ex-wife also begins a relationship with a younger partner. The film follows their struggles to find love amongst each other.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Lynn Carlin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A proud strip club owner is forced to come to terms with himself as a man, when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Timothy Carey, Seymour Cassel
Husbands (1970)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A common friend's sudden death brings three men, married with children, to reconsider their lives and ultimately leave together. But mindless enthusiasm for regained freedom will be ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes
Shadows (1959)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Cassavetes' jazz-scored improvisational film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Hurd
Gloria (1980)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a young boy's family is killed by the mob, their tough neighbor Gloria becomes his reluctant guardian. In possession of a book that the gangsters want, the pair go on the run in New York.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Buck Henry, Julie Carmen
Certificate: GP Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A museum curator falls in love with a crazy parking attendant.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery
Love Streams (1984)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two closely bound, emotionally wounded siblings reunite after years apart.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Diahnne Abbott
Big Trouble (1986)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Insurance agent plots with client to kill her nutty husband.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Beverly D'Angelo
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark is the head of the Crawthorne State Training Institute, one of the first boarding schools for developmentally challenged children. Dr. Clark is sympathetic ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Gena Rowlands
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Ghost is an idealogical musician who would rather play his blues in the park to the birds than compromise himself. However, when he meets and falls in love with beautiful singer, Jess ... See full summary »

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Bobby Darin, Stella Stevens, Everett Chambers
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An almost accidental romance is kindled between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nick Longhetti
...
Fred Draper ...
George Mortensen
Lady Rowlands ...
Martha Mortensen
Katherine Cassavetes ...
Margaret Longhetti
...
Angelo Longhetti
...
Tony Longhetti
Christina Grisanti ...
Maria Longhetti
O.G. Dunn ...
Garson Cross
Mario Gallo ...
Harold Jensen
Eddie Shaw ...
Dr. Zepp
Angelo Grisanti ...
Vito Grimaldi
Charles Horvath ...
Eddie
James Joyce ...
Bowman
...
Clancy
Edit

Storyline

Peter Falk is a blue collar man trying to deal with his wife's mental instability. He fights to keep a semblance of normality in the face of her bizarre behavior, but when her actions affect their children, he has her committed. Written by BA Jacobson <pcfe2151@cybercom.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Uma Mulher Sob Influência  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 2,455,317 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Dreyfuss claimed that he found the film so harrowing when he first saw it that it caused him to vomit. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Nick first decides to have Mabel committed, he's got a towel on his shoulder and a bottle of gin in his hand. The next cut contains the towel, but no bottle of gin. The following shot the gin returns. See more »

Quotes

Mabel Longhetti: All of a sudden, I miss everyone...
See more »

Connections

References Columbo (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Vertigo at the bottom of the Human Soul ...
10 January 2011 | by (France) – See all my reviews

This is a film about need, about affection, about a desperate need of affection that consumes the heart of Mabel Longhetti, the "woman under the influence" ... Some might say she's a troubled woman suffering from a personality disorder, others would say she's just psychotic ... they couldn't be wronger : she couldn't have a personality disorder, since she doesn't have any personality at all. Her character is totally diluted into that desperate need to please, to make people comfortable. The painful paradox is that this desire creates even more awkward and uncomfortable situations. But Mabel isn't aware of that, she can't understand that because she has buried any desire to be someone under the profound will to make people she loves, happy. She's sweet and tender, but this sweetness is wrong because it's inspired by a double fear of rejection and confrontation.

Mabel crystallizes all these feelings and translates them in a behavior made of unpredictable excitability, a forced cheerfulness, a childish behavior she almost uses as a shield not to be hurt. She's afraid, and so are we, when we watch this poor woman trying to gain anyone's sympathy, just to please Nick, her husband. Mabel is played by the beautiful Gena Rowlands in what I consider the greatest cinematic female performance ever. Peter Falk is underrated as Nick, the husband who tries to deal with Mabel's condition, with such severity sometimes, that even himself can't control his own reactions.

This is the set-up of the film, it's a drama, that couldn't have been directed by anyone but the great John Cassavettes. It's not a thriller, not an action film, yet it provided some of the most heart-pounding moments I've ever experienced. Never had a lunch and a dinner scene been so uneasy to watch : as it's been mentioned before, Mabel doesn't want to hurt people's feeling yet she unconsciously does. Mabel is like a little flame that might, at any time, light a bag of powder. Mabel creates real tickling-bomb situations, where the explosion is a burst of emotions, so human watching the film feels indecent. That's Cassavetes genius, this is no voyeuristic movie because we don't enjoy watching such devastation in a family that has everything to be happy. It's no voyeurism, it's realism, its cinema-verity as its purest form. Every laugh makes us smile, every shout makes us vibrate. Every silence makes us feel uncomfortable. We watch, we wait, and we never have a feeling that nothing is happening. Every look on Gena's eyes, every way she deforms her face, every noise or weird hand gesture she makes is the expression of a poor little a soul trying to communicate a part of what remains in the bottom, what remains of Mabel's personality.

Confronted to Mabel's emotional clumsiness, Nick looks totally helpless, yet he's not exempt from reproaches. He's not crazy but his own temper probably aggravated Mabel's condition. He warns his colleague, "Mabel is not crazy", but he insists so much, you wonder why would someone say that about a 'normal' woman. The answer is that he thinks she's crazy, but loves her so much he doesn't want people to think she is. Nick loves so much his wife he puts himself in situations making him act like a bag of contradictions. Nick himself looks sometimes desperate as he doesn't know what he's doing, lost between his responsibilities as a father, a son, a husband who loves his wife, and a man devoured by a frustrated violence. Seeing him trying to act like a father makes you put Mabel's insanity into perspective. If Mabel acts under Nick's influence, Nick's life and behavior are equally influenced by Mabel's problem, the effects on the couple, on the family and the relationships with the friends are disturbingly heart-breaking.

Disturbing, Cassavetes' masterpiece is because it reflects our own fears with a gripping realism, it's a journey into the deepest bottom of the human soul, made of anger, fear, sadness, happiness, reason, craziness, men, women, children, human relationships. It's hard to watch, it's uncomfortable, we can't help but feel sorry for the poor Mabel, for these poor kids, and even for Nick. They're not pathetic because they're not quite passive. In fact, the movie is full of noise, of loud shouts, of movements, this is no swimming in an ocean of tears, this is not your typical tear-jerker drama, it's almost like an emotional thriller. In fact, this doesn't need any categorization, this film makes other films look like films. "A Woman under the Influence"'s direction turns it into a chaotic journey into human relationships, and a very exhausting experience in reality.

Gena Rowlands gave the best performance I've ever seen, and the fact she won or not an Oscar doesn't even matter ... these considerations normalize the movie when it's more than something you would nominate for an award. Cassavettes's masterpiece is a tunnel ride into the depths of the human soul with its dark sides, and a probable light of hope at the end.


8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Boring, and I blame it on the direction Rrichboy
What was the purpose of this movie? StrangerandPilgrim
Best Actress Oscar tonyfyffe
A Woman Under the Influence or Repulsion? sightless
Possible core of the film. nateedwardsone
Great Movie. Great Performances. fake_shemp
Discuss A Woman Under the Influence (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?