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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek ROCK!!!
I first encounterd '3 Women' while flipping through the cable channels on a lazy summer day in 1997. I tuned into the movie right at the scene where Sissy Spacek was screaming at Shelley Duvall from a hospital bed, "DON'T CALL ME PINKY -- GET OUT OF HERE!" It was from this moment on that I became fascinated with Robert Altman's dreamlike masterpiece, '3...
Published on May 11 2004 by Joe

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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stop projecting and SEE what a pretentious film this is.
Altman may have been the most over-rated filmaker in the United States. What we see in this film is the work of a person with superb technical skills being applied by one with the vision of an ambitious film student. Disolves are disjointed and ambiguous---not "because they are meant to be" but because Mr. Altman has lost all sight of his narrative. This happens...
Published on May 2 2004


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek ROCK!!!, May 11 2004
By 
Joe (Howell, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
I first encounterd '3 Women' while flipping through the cable channels on a lazy summer day in 1997. I tuned into the movie right at the scene where Sissy Spacek was screaming at Shelley Duvall from a hospital bed, "DON'T CALL ME PINKY -- GET OUT OF HERE!" It was from this moment on that I became fascinated with Robert Altman's dreamlike masterpiece, '3 Women.' I made sure to tape it during a repeat screening, and for years hoped that it would make it to DVD, for it was never even released on VHS! So when I heard about Criterion giving it the deluxe treatment, I was very excited.
'3 Women' is not a conventional film by any means. Every person I invite over to watch it, either loathes it or is so utterly puzzled that they need to have a stiff drink afterwards. It is not a film that all audiences will appreciate. However, those with an interest in unusual characters or artsy cinema should find it a rewarding experience, especially with repeated viewings. It's not so much a matter the film being ahead of it's time -- '3 Women' is in a timespace all of it's own!
The strongest attraction of '3 Women' for me, is the remarkable performances by Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek. Duvall brings a sense of pathos and false reassurance to Millie. Can't we all think of some Millie-types who we know that try so hard to fit in with society but just fail miserably? Spacek, on the other hand, gives Pinky an other-worldliness that at times borders on a personality disorder right out of the DSM-IV manual.
Like '2001: A Space Odyssey,' '3 Women' leaves several mysteries unanswered and leaves the viewer to fill in the blanks. For instance, why was Pinky was warned about the twins early on in the film? Why did Pinky give Ms. Bunwell Millie's social security number instead of her own? And of course, what was the inexplicable final scene all about?
Criterion's DVD presention is acceptable. Robert Altman provides a commentary track which is more than welcome. There's also some interesting period photos, a teaser trailer, the theatrical trailer and two TV spots. I would have loved a documentary or some interviews with the cast, but I am quite satisfied with what is presented.
Intriguing but never overbearing, '3 Women' is one of the most interesting and brilliant films of all time. Watch it with an open mind, and some wine -- perferably Lemon Satin or Tickled Pink, of course.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Altman At His Best!!!!!!!!!!, April 29 2004
By 
JT BELK (MISSION, KS United States) - See all my reviews
It's been 17 years since the film appeared on the big screen and it's long over due for the film to hit the home market. Thank you Criterion Collection for selecting this classic as one of your children. Nothing prepared me for the Robert Altman commentary that accompanies the film. I didn't realize how much this film had affected my life and friends life. I loved Shelley Duvall's Millie but I didn't realize how close to the character I became. The commentary was like a two hour therapy session. They don't make films like this anymore. Altman called it a impressionistic painting with music. Wow! The production is top notch and the mural paintings and the music are erie adding tension to the dramatic nightmare. Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Jancie Rule are brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful moments, but didn't all work for me, at least on a first viewing..., April 22 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I feel a bit stupid on this one. Lionized by most critics as a neglected masterpiece, I certainly liked it, and respected it's lofty aims, but didn't flat out love it. The two lead performances by Sissy Spacek and Shelly Duvall are wonderful, and the film has more than its share of powerful and creepy moments.

But the film - based on a dream of Altman's, and not trying to make any literal sense - feels overly self-conscious and arty at times. I found the music intrusive, almost shouting `see how weird this is?' And a lot of the symbolism, like the paintings that run through the film, feels bit heavy handed and obvious. Alternately some plot twists feel arbitrary, not thought through.

This is often compared to David Lynch's dream films Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. But I found both of those a little more fun, and they felt more cohesive in their dream worlds, even if I didn't always know what was going on.

Now, having said all that, I do look forward to seeing it again. I've often found some of my very favorite films are complex and challenging works that don't jell on 1st viewings, only to have those petty annoyances fall away on a second look. In any case, if you're up for something challenging, this is a terrifically acted, unique and brave film, and certainly worth a look. And - since it's a film that plays on subconscious more than literal levels - I suspect no two people will react to this exactly the same way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 Women - My opinion, Feb. 16 2004
By A Customer
I don't even know where to begin with this movie. A good way to describe it is bewitching, to say the least; strange; compelling; complex. I remember seeing it for the first time maybe five years or so ago on cable. I don't think I ever wanted a movie so much. I started taping it in the middle of it and finally stumbled upon it a few years later on cable again and taped the whole thing. I've got a full copy now, but the DVD will be great. Shelley Duvall is just amazing in this movie, as is Sissy Spacek. It seems that each time I watch it, I figure something else out about it, which is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. Just the 1970's imagery alone brings back so many wonderful memories. You'll want to close your eyes and play the score over and over. One scene in particular I love is when Millie returns from the grocery store and proclaims, "We're havin' pigs-in-a-blanket and chocolate puddin' tarts" and shows Pinky all the processed foods she's bought. I love it. You'll love this movie. I watch it at least once a month and cannot wait for the DVD. Think I'll put it in now LOL. Buy it!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insanity - Can't Live With It - Can't Live Without it, April 26 2004
By 
Ken (SANTA MONICA, CA United States) - See all my reviews
I remember seeing Altman movies in the 1970's and 1980's. I loved every one of them. "Three Women" was probably the most extraordinary - not to take anything away from "The Long Goodbye" or "McCabe and Mrs. Miller." The other American auteur I remember in the limelight at the time was Paul Mazursky. I believe Mazursky got an Oscar for "Harry & Tonto." I remember thinking back then that Altman was overdue for the kind of recognition he should have had for his work. From my point of view, in Mazursky films, the characters were basically conventional and the exterior world was kooky - this crazy world we live in these days. With Altman films, however, the madness was within each character, against a backdrop of a conventional exterior world. To me this is more real, more architypal, more universal, more permanent.
In "Three Women" the painter lady paints away on murals in a desert swimming pool showing these ancient maybe Egyptian guys who can stand alone in their soulless fortress (if they have to), while the women crawling around their feet cannot (and they aren't too happy about it). There is no road map out of this one, the weather of human existence.
All this would be depressing except that a humor which is both savage and kindly prevails, fueled by the magic of wonderful actors. "Three Women" is extraordinarily rich in shared overtones. As such I could watch it nearly as often as I listen to my favorite string quartet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MILLIE & PINKY & WILLIE...., April 25 2004
By 
Mark Norvell (HOUSTON) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a Robert Altman fan, I'm fully aware that he's a hit or miss director...with equal amounts of hits and misses. Yet, when he hits---he's a genius. "3 Women" contains the genius with the uncanny casting of Shelley Duvall as Millie, a would be sophisticate with no sophistication and Sissy Spacek as Pinky, a strange blank slate of a girl from Texas. The third woman is Willie (Janice Rule), an equally strange (and strangely silent) pregnant middle-aged artist who paints obscenely macabre murals of half-reptile half-human creatures in empty swimming pools. The setting is a small desert town in Arizona where Millie works as a physical therapy aide and meets Pinky, a new aide, who winds up her roommate. Pinky is fascinated by a pair of twins who work at the rest home and begins to study Millie's life and mannerisms. After nearly drowning in a suicide attempt, she winds up in a coma. When she recovers from the coma, Millie is told she has temporary amnesia. But Pinky is no longer Pinky, she's evolving into Millie. Willie will also assume a different role in the film's eerie, pastorial conclusion. Whether you like this or not depends on your tolerance for the unusual and challenging. Certainly the film has it's humor, like Millie's desperate attempts at being a social butterfly and everyone's blatant ignoring of her. It's funny, but there's also a sadness in Millie's refusal to accept her own failings. It's also chilling to watch Spacek as the childlike Pinky Rose, seemingly dumb as dirt yet studying everything around her---especially others as she apes their movements and mannerisms. As if she's looking for a vessel to inhabit. Then there's Willie, so silent---yet waiting, not only for the birth of her baby, but for something else as she paints her hideous art work. Nothing about "3 Women" is easily explained. It's a subtle, complex film with symbolism to spare. Even the film score is unnerving. Recommended for film purists and of course Altman fans, but watch it for the stellar performances of 3 stunning actresses as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The connection between women...a surreal experience..., April 22 2004
Pinky (Sissy Spacek), an immature and timid girl, has recently left Texas for some unknown reason and acquired a job as a geriatric healthcare aid in the Palm Springs area. She is guided into her new job by the talkative Millie (Shelley Duvall). Millie's chattiness is often disregarded by her coworkers, neighbors, and all others as she desperately attempts to make connections with men. However, Pinky perceives Millie as the perfect woman as she is the only person that pays any attention to her, which leads to the two of them becoming roommates. This is the beginning for what could be called a surrealistic experience as the connection between two women with their similarities and differences develops. Their connection leads into a whirlpool of emotional turmoil where the third enigmatic woman, Willie (Janice Rule), enters. Wille is an artist that creates murals of amphibian women in struggles.

3 Women is dreamlike vision of what Altman once dreamed and later envisioned on the silver screen for the public to see. When Altman's vision has been seen it is difficult to make into a clear picture as painfully uneasiness is instilled into the cerebral cortex while ambiguous notions are drifting in multiple directions. This leaves interpretation completely to the audience as some hints of what Altman might want to say could offer some direction, yet lead astray the most cunning of cerebral minds. Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall perform with brilliance as they bring this delusional imagination to life. In the end, Altman leaves a brilliant cinematic experience for an audience to ponder for ages as there is no absolute analysis of 3 Women.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pigs in a Blanket, April 18 2004
By 
Gerald Bland (Berkeley, Ca. USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I first saw this movie in its theatrical release. All of my work peers saw it as well and it seems that it was all we talked about. Yes, it was starnge, but oddly comical as well. Someone even had a dinner party serving up some of the Shelly Duvall's character's favorite recipes. It was a truely visionary and idiosyncratic Robert Altman movie and was compared to Bergman's "Persona". I taped it from t.v. once, but it was so cut up and disjointed that I eventually taped over it and decided to wait until it eventuall came out on video. And now I've ordered it and I'm so excited. Can't wait to see how it has held up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anticipating no problems with the transfer..., April 11 2004
By 
socrates17 "socrates17" (New Jersey/Tanelorn 2008/9) - See all my reviews
since it isn't actually out yet.
I simply cannot believe that this film is by the same man who directed Ready to Wear. You can't ridicule an industry that is so ridiculous.
Three Women is certainly Altman's greatest and one of the greatest films ever made.
BTW - I'll buy dinner for the first person in the Northern NJ area who understands the Where in the world reference this time. Not just what but why.
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stop projecting and SEE what a pretentious film this is., May 2 2004
By A Customer
Altman may have been the most over-rated filmaker in the United States. What we see in this film is the work of a person with superb technical skills being applied by one with the vision of an ambitious film student. Disolves are disjointed and ambiguous---not "because they are meant to be" but because Mr. Altman has lost all sight of his narrative. This happens ALOT. No excuses, Mr. Altman. You are stillriding on your ill-deserved rep. For excellent film-making see ANYthing by Jaques Tati. Nuff said. And to all you out there, impressed by this film: what WAS going on in your life when you saw it, and were SOOO impressed?
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3 Women (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
3 Women (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] by Robert Altman (Blu-ray - 2011)
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