Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lynn Carlin - Faces: A Review

This is going to be a rather short review, but here we go:


Lynn Carlin in Faces

The year was 1968. The times where changing as well were seeing. John Cassavettes, who had just finishing starring in Rosemary's Baby, decided he would make a personal, independent feature. Interestingly enough, Cassavettes's costar, Ruth Gordon, would go on to win the Oscar who competed with Cassavettes's supporting actress, Lynn Carlin.

Lynn plays Maria. She is a seemingly happy, yet on the inside, she is a complete mess. Her marriage with her husband Richard (John Marley, in a wonderful performance) is tearing her slowly to shreds. Her husband returns home to her after he has spend the night with his best friend and a high class hooker (Gena Rowlands). He simply wants dinner, she wants more. He wants to have sex, she wants more. The emptiness of their marriage shines through every scene the pair share together.


Richard finally decides he wants a divorce. He cannot take the constant bickering the two share with each other, plus it was the swinging 60s, everyone had to swang. He makes a call to the hooker he met the night before, and even arranges to pick her up while Maria is the room. This is one of the coldest scenes I've ever seen. Maria accepts this abuse and decides she will take her time out of the town.


Her friends are perhaps the "Desperate Housewives" of 1968. They are all confused about the world's change around them, and are looking for new men to inhabit their lives. Enter a happy-go-lucky hippie, Chet (Seymour Cassel, in his best performance). They immediately have tension between each other, as Maria has tension with any man who makes a pass at her. Chet tries to cheer up these grouchy gooses as best as he can, and Maria, eventually becomes drunk. She decides if my husband wants another woman, maybe this can be my chance to get back at him.

The two both commit adultery at the exact same time. And Maria takes the all night love session, very, very badly. She decides she has committed the ultimate sin, and decides to kill herself. Her mental breakdown is only survived when Chet comforts her with tales and soft talk. Richard returns home to find Maria wet from the shower and Chet sneaking out the window. He is completely furious, and she, well, she is just a complete mess.

The truth comes out in a long conversation on the stairs. The talk is almost, uplifting, in a way, since she has almost committed suicide, and he almost killed her again. The two soon decide it's over and that's the way it will always be.

Lynn Carlin manages to make every scene hers (a true Supporting Actress). Her performance of such struggle and trying to come to understanding with her breakup of her husband of 14 years, if truly excellence.

But, ultimately, I agree with Ruth Gordon's equally brilliant performance in Rosemary's Baby. It was a year where we had two brilliant performances nominated together. But, Lynn Carlin goes down as my 2nd favorite nominee in history (right behind Hope Emerson in Caged.)

1 comment:

MovieMania said...

You know it's funny, I just rented Faces the other day but I haven't watched it yet!