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.
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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.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
El Hedi ben Salem,
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
This movie is a breakthrough - courageous and uncompromising view at the family and at the marriage where both spouses love each other deeply but they are both not well, they don't know how communicate when somebody else present, even their own children. They could be happy on the deserted island but not surrounded by friends and families. I was fascinated by both, Peter Falk's and Gena Rowlands' performances. She looked like a little girl, trapped in a woman's body - confused, insecure, listening to what is inside of her. When she said to her children, "I hope that you will never grow up", she meant it because she never felt comfortable as a grown up. I could not take my yes off Rowlands. Her performance is on par with the best study of nervous breakdown I've seen, and this is Liv Ullmann in Bergman's "Face to Face".
Peter Falks was also a revelation - I love him as Lt. Columbo in the TV series but he is a completely different character here; in a way, he is as mentally unbalanced as his wife is. The fact that he loves her but never hesitates to abuse her makes him terrifying - you never know how he will act in the next moment, and he does not know himself. Directing and writing are absolutely first class, and I am very exited to see more films by John Cassavetes, the Godfather of American Independent film-making and a father of American "New Wave" 9.5/10
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