Three very different women come together at a spa for the elderly and infirmed.One becomes wrapped up in the life of one of the others and surprises the other two women with how far she will go to keep their relationship intact.
© 1977 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
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Tomatometer®reviews counted: 12see all 3 Women reviews
Top Critic Reviews
Fresh: Fascinating, elliptical and enigmantic ... authentic Altman. Altman.
- Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Thursday, June 24, 2010
Rotten: Robert Altman's would-be American art film (1977) is murky, snide, and sloppy.
- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Saturday, January 1, 2000
an impressionist masterpiece from altman quite unlike his other works. the heavy symbolism, the desert setting (it sure does look like texas), water everywhere (spas, swimming pools, fish tanks), the wonderful mythic paintings, atonal soundtrack, and startling performances (especially shelley duvall in one of the funniest and most heart-breaking characterizations i've ever seen on screen), the dream-logic (altman famously claimed he dreamed the film and it retains that surreal quality)...it will stay in your head. certainly it's kin to persona as mulholland drive is kin to this film with their mutual themes of identity theft/merger. it's just as eerie but with a good dose of squirm-inducing humor which those films are lacking. best not try to explain it, just see it with an open mind. one of the finest american films of the 1970's and that's saying something. 1 becomes 2, 2 become 3, 3 become 1
- rubystevens, Monday, October 18, 2010
I may be wrong, but I always imagine "3 Women" turning off a portion of Altman aficionados, while at the same time enchanting some regular detractors of his work. A complete departure from his typical freewheeling, ensemble style of filmmaking, it has a haunting, dreamlike quality unlike anything else I've seen. It's a tough one to describe, but the titular women are: a socially invisible chatterbox (Shelley Duvall), her adoring, childlike protege (Sissy Spacek), and a near mute artist (Janice Rule), pregnant by Duvall and Spacek's lecherous, philandering landlord. Over the course of the film, a pair of cataclysmic events cause the women to twice exchange identities. Without giving too much away, the first such transfer is straightforward enough, prompted by temporary amnesia, but the second is more abstract and disturbing, motivated by guilt and loss. If all this sounds a little heavy-going, "3 Women" is often very funny, at the expense of Duvall's would-be domestic goddess and Spacek's wide-eyed innocent. Shelley Duvall is outstanding and Sissy Spacek is equally wonderful, but the film owes much of its haunting atmosphere to Janice Rule; the fact that she says very little is somehow more mysterious than if she were to say nothing at all.
- harrycaul, Saturday, March 8, 2008