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Sunday, May 22, 2016

3 Women (1977)

In a small California desert town, a socially awkward girl (Sissy Spacek) from Texas moves in with a gawky but friendly girl (Shelley Duvall) who works at the health spa for the elderly with her. The awkward girl sees the other girl as sophisticated and worldly when, in truth, she's clueless and delusional. But a suicide attempt will change them both but in different ways. One of director Robert Altman's very best films, perhaps only NASHVILLE and MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER surpass it, the film has the feel of an Ingmar Bergman film, PERSONA in particular. Like Bergman's films, the actresses take center stage and both Duvall (who won the Cannes film festival best actress award for her work here) and Spacek (who won the New York Film critics award for her performance) do superb work. The third woman, who is an artist painting surrealistic images, is played by Janice Rule and while she doesn't have as much to do as the other two, she brings a certain gravitas to her portrayal. It's a moody, evocative piece of film making that comes as close to poetry as cinema can be. The effective underscore is by Gerald Busby. With John Cromwell (yes, the director), Dennis Christopher, Ruth Nelson and Robert Fortier.

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