Nick (Falk) and Mabel (Rowlands) are married and live in Los Angeles. Nick is the foreman of a construction crew and Mabel stays at home, somehow coping with their three children. Mabel tries hard to please the mercurial Nick but often ends up embarrassing him. Their relationship is loving but fractious. When Mabel’s mental state disintegrates, Nick reluctantly has her committed to an institution. Six months later she returns home. But is Mabel really cured?
Cassavetes’s seventh film is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Self-funded and distributed (he remortgaged his house in the process), this classic would go on to earn $12 million at the box office. It’s a brilliant, incisive, emotionally harrowing portrait of a woman trying to find herself while fighting mental instability and a volatile husband. It’s impossible to take one’s eyes off Rowlands, who is riveting whether silently observing others or in full-fledged meltdown. She and real-life husband Cassavetes were both nominated for Academy Awards. It’s a crime that neither won. Watch this “Woman”!