I watched THREE WOMEN, Robert Altman's strange, yet interesting drama from 1977. The story of an impressionable young lady, well played by a childlike Sissy Spacek, meeting a bona fide whack-job, Shelley Duvall, and emulating her to the point of assuming her identity. Spacek's character changes to unrecognizable levels, while Duvall's is forced to grow in order to keep up. More or less. I confess, I don't fully understand this complex, interpretative story. But I enjoyed trying to figure it out!
Woman number three is a pregnant artist, older than the others, played by Janice Rule. Janice has few lines, appearing mostly in vague, lurking shots, and serving as the subject of the film's great tragedy. How this event affects the others is (A) a spoiler, and (B) something I'm still trying to understand! I like this movie. It's different. It's just not something I can explain to others.
There's an awkwardness in the air that's palpable. Altman's feel for real people and places is very effective. When nut-job Shelley strolls among people pretending to be on friendly terms wih them, when really they can't stand her, it's uncomfortable and sad. And...familiar? Have you ever been in a social situation where nobody would say a word to you, no matter how hard you tried to connect? Welcome to Shelley World!
Altman is not my favorite filmmaker. This ultra-real, unglamorous atmosphere annoys me in NASHVILLE, bores me in A WEDDING, leaves me shaking my head, wondering what on Earth people see in SHORT CUTS! In this odd little character study, it works. It's so real you can feel it. I assume that's point!
The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.
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