3 Women (1977)




Robert Altman




Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule, Robert Fortier, Ruth Nelson, John Cromwell, Sierra Pecheur, Craig Richard Nelson, Maysie Hoy, Belita Moreno, Leslie Ann Hudson, Patricia Ann Hudson, Beverly Ross


It follow the lives of three women, Pinky (Sissy Spacek), an awkward adolescent who becomes overly attached to Millie (Shelley Duvall), a lonely outcast who desperately tries to win attention, and Willie (Janice Rule), a strange pregnant artist.


I've been wanting to watch "3 Women" for a very long time and last night I finally got around it. I'm sure many will disagree with me, but I believe this is a slightly overrated film. I'm not saying I didn't like it, I just didn't love it.

Based on a dream Robert Altman had, the story isn't very easy to explain, yet it's very simple and its strongest element is that Altman doesn't rush it, but let the story slowly evolve. Which suits the film very well.

But the plot isn't the main focus of Altman. The psychological aspects of the relationships between the three women is. Unfortunately, while the first part is a very interesting and clever character study, the second part is a bit of a mess, as we see one of the women changing personality and having problems remembering who she really is. That's when "3 Women" basically turns into an identity theft film.

I did, however, find very interesting what Altman says through the film. With each woman, he portrays a different stage of womanhood - Pikny is the child, Millie is the 20-something, Willie is the soon-to-be mother - and each woman is reluctant to move forward and accept changes. Also, it is very clear that the stories/lives of these three women have all been affected by abusive men.

Still there are other things that don't work for me. First, the haunting music feels too intrusive and reminded me of "The Shining"'s. Second, all the paintings symbolism is a bit too obvious and prevent some twists from working.

On the other hand, we have the acting. Shelley Duvall gives an outstanding performance as Millie, easily the most pathetic character. Sissy Spacek is the perfect cast for Pinky, a grown up child who changes into the people that surround her. Janice Rule also does a great job as the mysterious Willie.

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