Nominated for multiple Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes (and taking home her share of wins), Gena Rowlands is a legend forever. Across her extensive career, she’s worked with Jim Jarmsuch, Paul Mazursky, William Friedkin, Terence Davies — and John Cassavetes, with whom she had one of the greatest ongoing actor-director collaborations in film history.
Charting Rowlands’ transformation as “Mabel” from endearingly kooky to bleakly incoherent and back again, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE is perhaps the most important examination of mental health ever captured onscreen.
Cassavetes observes the ricochets between Mabel’s health and her in-laws’ “influence”— but at the heart of this film is her relationship with her conservative husband (an equally amazing Peter Falk), who struggles in vain to pull Mabel out of her ever-worsening decline. Both tough-as-bricks and delicate, WOMAN goes straight for the throat.