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.
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 »
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
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This is one of three films written and directed by John Cassavetes to receive Oscar nominated. Gloria (1980) received 1 nomination for Best Actress, (Gena Rowlands), who was also nominated for Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence (1974), which got 2 nominations, with Cassavetes also getting a Best Director nod. Faces (1968) received 3 nominations - 2 for acting in supporting roles, and 1 for Cassavetes for screenwriting. Cassavetes was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Dirty Dozen (1967) in a film he neither wrote nor directed. Neither Rowlands nor Cassavetes ever won an Academy Award. See more »
When Nick pulls up to the construction site in his pick up truck, the truck comes to a complete stop in the wide shot. In the close-up on the opposite side of the truck, it's still moving. See more »
A Woman Under the Influence is an emotionally packed film that is centered around a capricious yet troubled housewife named Mabel. Mother to three young children and wife to her loving but volatile husband Nick, Mabel's mind is consumed with gaining acceptance and being reassured by those who surround her. Her psychological ability to keep up with normal everyday situations eventually reaches full capacity and she struggles to maintain emotional and mental competency.
Director Cassavetes intentionally chooses not to grant clemency to the viewer. Imagine walking in late to an opera that's in it's third act that almost seems like what Cassavetes does to the audience introducing his depiction of a distressed family while they're in mid flight. Gena Rowlands' portrayal of the likable but frail Mabel is nothing short of incredible, and Peter Falk gives an equally remarkable performance as Mabel's husband Nick. This film is not for the weak-hearted nor for those seeking traditional entertainment. It's distinctive approach to such an emotional journey will undoubtedly impede many viewer's enjoyment - but for those who appreciate unique cinema and realism, it doesn't get much better than this.
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