The only flaw in the Webster Film Series' current John Cassavetes' program is that each film only screens once. But in the case of A Woman Under the Influence, the film that Richard Dreyfuss famously claimed caused him "to go home and vomit" due to its unflinching honesty, maybe one viewing is for the best. Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk play Mabel and Nick Longhetti, a married couple who are mismatched in temperament but very much in love. Nick's a construction worker, tough and blunt, where Mabel is more psychologically complex, and perhaps more delicate. Cassavetes' script and Rowlands' raw performance reveal every grim moment of domestic life. The tedium of having to communicate every day with a person you know so well, the couple's joint inability to change how they behave to better suit the other person's needs, and Mabel's tempestuous moods lead to a breakdown for Mabel and...what for Nick? He's no more adept than she is at expressing what's wrong, but he represses his discontent better. What men and women want from each other, and what they can't give to each other no matter how in love they are, has never been more achingly portrayed. A Woman Under the Influence screens at 8 p.m. at the Moore Auditorium on Webster University's campus (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries). Tickets are $5 to $6.
Sat., July 18, 2009