Gena Rowlands received her first Oscar nomination for playing Mabel Longhetti in A Woman Under The Influence.
A Woman Under The Influence is a movie I admire, but don't find entertaining, and for those who call it boring, that's what I think that is what Cassavetes was going for. A realistic look at a married couple's turmoil marriage. It's because Cassavetes' throws so many 'slice-of-life' moments in is what really kills the entertainment, or dare I say, shock value of the material. But, really the only reason to see the film is the performances, and while I felt Peter Falk was pretty terrible, Rowlands holds it together fabulously.
Rowlands is harrowing, to put it in simple terms. She gives a bravura turn that almost literally grabs you through the screen - her over the top performing fits perfectly. That's really what makes it so good, it makes you feel uncomfortable and scratching your head as she does crazy eye movements and wild hand mannerisms. It's a fantastic portrait of mental illness, one of the best I've seen certainly. It's never too apparent, but it's never hiding either. She never let's Cassavetes, Peter Falk, or the crazy nature of the character get in the way of her delivering a fantastic, brilliant, raw, unbelievable performance.