Top positive review
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Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek ROCK!!!
on May 11, 2004
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.