2019 Blind Spot Series: A Woman Under the Influence


What I knew going in: Not much, other than what it was about.

Mabel (Gena Rowlands) is a housewife who lives to please her husband, Nick. (Peter Falk) However she suffers from a mental illness that neither Nick, nor anyone else in their family is equipped to help her with.

When putting together my Blind Spot list, this was a recommendation I got on Twitter and it was a film I was familiar with due to all the praise for Gena Rowlands' performance.

That aspect of the film was no hyperbole. Rowlands is fantastic. It's sad to watch Mabel who with a less shitty husband and more supportive social circle could've gotten the help she needed and thrived. There are parts of this movie that are so deeply uncomfortable that it kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to follow.

Speaking of Mabel's husband, Nick really is the worst, right? This is nothing against Falk who's great, but Nick is so unlikable that the film, which is already far too long at 2 hours and 35 minutes drags even more when Mabel is sent to an institution and we're left to watch him parent his children. I wish the film would've stayed with her instead because it's not interesting enough when she's not around.

Thankfully the majority of this works well, I think it's a bit overlong. The story is interesting and the actors deliver, it just needed a bit of trimming. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Oh you poor thing. You can't name someone Harold." - Mabel (Gena Rowlands)

11 comments:

  1. This is one of the first films of John Cassavetes that I saw and really liked as I hope to do more films by Cassavetes in the future as Gena Rowlands is just awesome.

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    1. I haven't seen a lot of Cassavetes either, I'll definitely search out more of his filmography.

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  2. This is not an easy watch but Gena Rowlands is just so titanically amazing you can't look away. It's both exhausting and terribly sad to watch Mabel spiral down her rabbit hole because Gena makes you care for this poor deeply damaged woman.

    If ever there was a performance that deserved an Oscar it's right here.

    Even eventual winner Ellen Burstyn (who is excellent in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore but just doesn't touch Rowlands) said this was an Oscar worthy piece of work.....just not her Oscar you understand!! Which made me laugh and love her even more.

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    1. I never saw Burstyn's performance but it's shocking to me that Rowlands didn't win for this. It's hard to imagine someone topping it that year.

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  3. This looks so heavy so I never watched it :/

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  4. I've heard of this one but haven't seen it myself. It sounds like a tough watch but I'm glad it was worthwhile!

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    1. The husband just drove me insane. I kept wishing he'd get hit by a bus or something. lol

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  5. Haven't seen this one. It's been on my radar for years, just never pulled the trigger. Sounds like it's worth it, though.

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  6. I have had this one on my radar for years..this and Gloria. I need to see this film..excellent review

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