A Woman under the Influence Review

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An happy, suburban American house wife slowly begins to go stir crazy, hurling insults at anyone who will listen, while her husband looks on in bewilderment.


At nearly two-and-a-half hours, this sometimes feels as if it's trying to convey the central character's increasing instability by having her drive you crazy, but it's still a powerful story of ordinary, everyday insanity with a pair of incredibly convincing central performances.

Rowlands, a bubbly but unstable housewife, slowly cracks up to the puzzlement of her decent, working-class husband (Falk), her initially delightful personality congealing as she seems possessed by the spirit (and voice) of Popeye while her humour drains away and she begins to make appalling, random, often devastating, verbal attacks on anyone in sight.

As with most Cassavetes' it is Rowlands who steals this show, this time expertly playing the happy housewife slowly going off the rails while Falk plays the part of her bewildered husband. At two-and-a-half hours, it could easily have dragged but with such strong performances, you're left wanting more.