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  • I've seen five of Cassavetes' films, and for all of them, there is a long adjustment time. His filmmaking is so unique that it's initially off-putting. But if you stay with his films, you will soon find yourself engrossed. I wonder if that is one of the reasons most of his movies were so long--to allow for the audience to adjust. In this film, he introduces us to two extremely damaged individuals and we don't realize until the second hour that they are brother and sister. You get a real feel for the "home movie" method writer/director/star Cassavetes employed and the house in this movie looks exactly like the house from A Woman Under the Influence, so was this actually their house??? It is just as messy and oddly decorated, as if it had not been picked up in nearly ten years. This movie doesn't seem to have much of a plot, although it plays like an interpretation of Shakespeare's The Tempest. I wonder if this was Cassevetes' intent as he appeared in a modern version of The Tempest (directed by Paul Mazursky) two years before this movie came out. This film could have been a real endurance test as some scenes go on forever. But anyone interested in seeing what has been called Cassevetes' most personal film, and a late career example of his style, should see this. It plays like a swan song to him as he died a few years after he made this. He seemed to have a fondness for serving alcohol to little kids, as this is the third movie I've seen of his where this happens. I haven't mentioned Gena Rowlands--she's just as good here as she was in Faces or Woman Under the Influence. She plays her sick character so well that you really believe that she could bring home all of those barnyard animals. I would not recommend this to anyone looking for entertainment but if you want to see something you surely will not forget anytime soon, then watch this.
  • There's an amazing scene in this movie where the character played by Gena Rowlands visits an animal farm and buys practically the entire stock. She's heartsick and probably insane, so she becomes ecstatic just because a dog starts licking her hand. This scene reminded me what a great actress Gena Rowlands is. I've seen all of her Cassavetes movies, and she's tough, smart and heartbreaking in all of them. She gets put through the emotional wringer in virtually every movie, but her reactions never seem phony. People might disagree over the value of Cassavetes' movies, but I think everyone could agree that he was very lucky to have her.
  • ewillhark12 April 2006
    After "Faces", the Cassavetes' experiment that created a revolution of form (cinema verite used for fictional narrative when this was absolutely 'unacceptable' in Hollywood), "Love Streams" gets my vote for his very best work, and one of his two or three true masterpieces. Both John and Gena give the performances of their lives, using their history with each other to create a natural intimacy as brother and sister that is second to none. John also knew he was dying and gave everything left of himself for the camera, and as filmmaker. The project was developed from a play and performed many times in front of audiences with Jon Voight in the lead: another experiment that delivered a unique depth to the material; and after seeing both the play and the movie, I'd say John taking over for Jon was an inspired decision by both of them. When the movie came out, it only played about a week (to comply with a contract with Cannon) before being shelved, not even put out on the art theater or revival circuit. I actually worked at Cannon, where rumor had it that Golem was punishing John for not cutting even a minute out of the long movie. Imagine cutting a masterpiece for just a few more screenings! "Love Streams" should eventually find its way to the recognition that it is one of American cinema's greatest achievements.
  • This is not a movie for "film buffs"; nor is it an "art- house" movie. Rather, "Love Streams" is for those who may be moved by seeing human emotion depicted, on-screen, in the most direct, natural way imaginable.The performances by the two leads are dead- on. Cassavetes, as the drunken writer/ playboy {who hints at his mediocrity with the vapid questions he asks of the female subjects of his presumably forthcoming book}, and Rowlands as his love starved, too-sensitive-for-this-world sister,make you care for them as if they were your own family. And the sense of place- weirdly atmospheric, forlorn Los Angeles, is effective. Another praiseworthy brother-sister movie to consider would perhaps be "You Can Count on Me".
  • stickler-227 February 2000
    This is a late great work of a master director. It is one of the most original films I have ever seen, though Cassavetes work was mostly improvised and so always had a spontaneous and creative feel. Love Streams is so good because it is the work of a highly creative mind at the height of his talents. It is haunting in its depiction of an unusual brother and sister and their love for each other and for family (in the case of the sister played by the great Gena Rowlands in a beautiful, though at times scary, performance.) More than anything it is a study of the meaning of love itself. The look of the film and the editing alone make this one worth watching.
  • having seen and studied all of cassavete's films repeatedly i must say this is my favorite and one of his very best. there is such a wonderful array of emotions going on here and complex character development. we have his amazing camera, the stunning long takes of faces smiling staring really in the moment like no other acting i have ever seen on the big screen. each series of decisions by the protagonists gets us further involved in their struggles and triumphs. this film is very challenging for first time cassavetes' viewers, but well worth returning to year after year. cinema just doesn't get this good. if you like to think and want something really unique and special check this out.
  • One of the Great American directors (directing and starring in his last great film) with his wonderful Gena Rowlands told an American tale as old as the Hollywood hills in the dreaded 80's film wash-out era. Check it - a writer who lives with a bunch of beautiful "hookers, babes, whoever these chicks are" while he gets his stuff together while his unhappily married sister (G. Rowlands) is having a bad decade, you have the beginning of a story.

    The plot alone with some wonderful performances by bit players and some clueless extras and a kid that Cassavets has scenes with (like he did in Marvin and Tige; just acting) that are VERY REAL and so non mainstream, I can't believe this wasn't a HIT in the mid 80's. I've been a film buff for 37 years and this should be shown at Christmas, instead of that horrifying Jimmy Stewart "It's a Wonderful Life" bad want-to-be Rod Serling story about Americans and their foibles. Check this out, even if you're not a Cassavetes fan. It will be well worth your time and effort and Gena Rowlands is wonderful in it. 9 out of 10.
  • An emotional exploration into the true meaning of love, not the feeling itself but the very endurance of it, whether this feeling that fills your heart is canalized toward a person, an animal …or an addiction…

    Like many Cassavetes' movies, "Love Streams" provides more interrogations than answers, and while I couldn't determine what the director's intentions were, I thought the film's was the portrayal of two tormented hearts: Robert, a trashy alcoholic writer incapable to show affection and his sister Sarah, a divorced mother drown in her awkward obsessions for love and love be loved. Two polar opposites who'd learn lessons from each other in the movie-defining moment when Robert, witnessing the emotional downfall of his sister, grab her in his arms with a fierce tenderness, a moment of pure emotion beautifully conveyed by the film's poster.

    As usual with Cassavetes, characters are as unique and specific as their feelings. It's extraordinary how Cassavetes' films paradoxically embody the very aspect that differentiate between movies and reality: the absence of archetypes, no plot, no typical characters, all of his films are a tribute to the total independence of human's spirit from any attempt to translate them into plot devices, and "Love Streams" is the fitting masterpiece of the champion of independent film-making that concludes one of the most fascinating series of cinematic character studies that started with "Shadows", foreshadowing the coming of the American New Wave, and that reached its pinnacle with the unanimously applauded "A Woman Under the Influence". Indeed, it's only after having watched the other films that I became aware that "Love Streams" was the most beautiful statement to Cassavetes' work… the epitaph of an artist haunted by an imminent death.

    Sarah's torment mirrors the condition of Mabel from "A Woman Under the Influence", as a mother incapable of being herself because of her alienation by a total desire to be loved. On the other hand, Robert reflects the character of Cosmo in "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" in his dedication to his occupation, his constant womanizing habits and the "Husbands" syndrome in the many contradictions that inhabits his mind and prevents him for being a good father. The presence of a child also reminds of the poor kids in "Influence" or "Gloria", and the total incapability to be educated or tutored by so-called adults as themselves happen to act with the same level of child-like cowardice by escaping from their responsibilities and picking the easy way. Indeed, Robert lets his kid have a beer or discover his lifestyle (including going to Vegas or hanging out with girls) while Sarah, in the most memorable scene, buys his brother animals so he can have 'a presence' to love.

    These unsettling moments highlight the insecurity of the protagonists their incapacity to control their emotions, yet their lucidity on their desires. Sometimes it worked like in the light-hearted "Minnie and Moskowitz", sometimes it didn't like in "Shadows", "Faces" and "Husbands". Satisfying, frustrating, embarrassing or even infuriating, the key in Cassavetes' characters is that they don't tell a story, but the slices of their lives echo the eternal duality of what we are and what we want to be, our social beings and emotional ones, and maybe the source of happiness is to reconcile one another, like in "Opening Night". I'm not trying to make random connections between "Love Streams" and other Cassavetes' films but to show how the Artist never changed and this film is probably the truest and most complete expression of all the eternal conflict between social pressure and emotions.

    And on that level, even the title, beyond its poetic resonance, perfectly describes the painful beauty of love. The word 'streams' refers to a movement, that follow either a linear or tortuous road, it kind of reminds of Fellini's strada: love as a road, a journey between hearts that are mostly chaotic in Cassavetes' film, streams being above any social labels. Being a parent is not loving like a parent and Cassavetes never take those labels for granted; love is too much an abstraction to be defined by a social status. In her desperate attempt to make her daughter and husband Seymour Cassel laugh, in a powerful improvised scene, Gena Rowlands shows more what it is to be a mother, than by claiming it in a meeting, and through his journey with his boy, in his tragic clumsiness, there is a part of inner truth in Robert's fatherhood, that the kid finally perceives when he shouts "you're my father".

    This is what love is about, it's action. And as most Cassavetes' film, "Love Streams" is guided only by actions, and the only genuine emotions that don't need actions to be proved are between Sarah and Robert, as they are so close they don't need to play a role together, the intimacy between them echoes the same intimacy between Cassavetes and his audience, who don't expect answers or entertainment, only the closeness to the truth of life. Yet the film feels more achieved, more mature on a technical level, like an allegory of Cassavetes' artistry, as if he tried to overcome a fascinating paradox that defined his genius: being an Artist, loved by average viewers, while making films that could only appeal to a certain category.

    Cassavetes was no elitist, yet his movies divided, he loved people, yet the reciprocity is more uncertain and maybe he tried to make a more 'normal' film so 'more' people would love him… but perfectly lucid that you can't do something just to please without becoming a patronizing impostor, and the reason we love his films is that he always remained true to his own nature, and desire of human authenticity.

    That's how real Artists are, and "Love Streams" is the best tribute to Cassavetes' genius.
  • jpschapira19 February 2008
    Firstly, it's not easy to have the full understanding of the cinematographic universe that John Cassavetes has. To take a stage play by Ted Allan and to co-write a script and create something that looks like everything but something you can imagine on a theater stage. In "Opening Night", almost everything occurred on the stage; here we have cities, we have bars, we have houses and, of course, people…Real people.

    I don't know if it makes any good to write long reviews about every Cassavetes' film. He pursued a style, he conquered it and he maintained it while dealing with different topics. "Love Streams" is the story of two brothers, Robert and Sarah (Cassavetes and his eternal muse Gena Rowlands), and some days they spend together.

    Like in the best movies, there's room for the viewer to draw conclusions. When Sarah knocks at Robert's door, it appears that they haven't seen each other for a long time; but we don't really know. When Robert receives his son (Jakob Shaw), the house is full of women and it appears that he doesn't care about the kid, but we don't really know; we also never fully understand the nature of Robert's work as a writer, meaning that we know he writes novels but the house full of women and the process he uses to create remains widely unexplained. When Robert interviews a singer he thinks is beautiful, it appears that he cares about her, but we don't really know.

    All these situations are not as simple as they sound; they're constant subjects in the film's two and half hours duration time. The same happens with the Rowlands character; a woman who loves his family but seems to be loosing them. There's a scene in which Sarah, her daughter Debbie (Risa Blewitt) and her husband Jack (Seymour Cassel) sit together to review the divorce papers and suddenly the little girl stands up and tells her mother: "I want to go with daddy".

    Sarah reacts as an unstable woman would do, and there are many moments in the film where we see this characteristic (we even witness a short but honest visit to a psychiatrist). However, her problem is not completely detailed and we have to figure it out through the same process we use to study Robert and every other character.

    This is what Cassavetes does. He puts the viewer to work. He presents the characters, he lets us know what we could normally see with a camera (Al Ruban's beautiful and observing camera, in a very similar style to "Opening Night"): the outside. The rest? Well, it's real life and people deal with it as it comes.

    In "Love Streams" you also have to deal with it. Deal with the things the characters are dealing with. It's not like you've never been involved with a movie character.
  • I saw "Love Streams" in Madrid, this past summer in the "Filmoteca Nacional" inside the retrospective of Cassavetes and I was so impacted that I started to search this film, like a crazy. Cassavetes plays a very hard character making a depressed and empty of love man, a looser. And Gena also plays a wonderful character: his dizzy sister. Imprescindible, wonderful, winner with the "Golden Bear" and Cassavetes plays the best character i've ever seen in my life. Please, if you listen this film, see it and search films of Cassavetes. The best of Cassavetes is 1º: Love Streams, 2º: Husbands and 3º: Faces. His way of work allows him to transmit us a lot of feelings. Casssavetes knew that he would probably left a few months to die and he shots his own death and, making us to reflex into the human been. I cried a lot
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In the early days of movies on cable, they used to air the same movie repeatedly over the course of a month, as if it was a film with daily showings at a movie house.

    Although LOVE STREAMS barely scratched at a theatrical release, it did find its way onto cable, and I came upon it by sheer serendipity. And I was captivated, going on to watch it 10 or 12 times before its run was up. I have not seen this film since (I saw it on cable in 1984) but I remember it vividly.

    I generally don't write 'spoiler' IMDb comments, but this film is destination cinema, you will watch this film because you elect to do so, and as such (and likely as a serious film buff or student of cinema) you will not mind hearing comments in advance to point out devices or moments of note.

    My favorite scene is the one where Gena Rowland's character announces that she's going to Europe - on her own. That's significant because she's so utterly out of control, you fear for her.

    There is a scene at the airport. It is easy to envision how this looked in the script...

    /cut to THE AIRPORT. The filmmakers have no budget. There is an absolutely blank interior stage. To indicate that we're at the airport, there is a simple length of tall chain link fencing. Standing near the fence, GENA ROWLANDS is poised expectantly, waiting alone - nearly dwarfed by a comically huge and chaotic pile of luggage. She is attempting to hire a porter, but the porter does not speak any English.

    PORTER Sorry Madame, I do not speak English.

    GENA Just listen to the sound of my voice. You *will* understand me.

    * * *

    That's it. What I love about this film is that the airport scene is played exactly as it might have been played on the stage, and in context of the film, it works. There's no airport. But as you watch the scene, you are there. Stage to screen and yet again stage... and it works.

    * * *

    This film is about relationship, and relationships. It is stunning work and deserves to be seen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The story opens in the middle of a situation that, without context, makes for total confusion. We are introduced to Robert Harmon (John Cassavetes) and a gaggle of young women. Harmon is supposedly a writer who specializes in sexually-themed novels and is currently gathering data on urban night life. Odd that throughout the movie we never see Harmon writing. The first part of the movie is constructed from disconnected scenes. Sarah Lawson (Gena Rolands) is in a scene that is a divorce hearing trying to settle on parental rights. Sarah says she spends most of her time going to funerals and attending the sick. We never see her doing any of the things that she claims occupy her.

    The first half of the movie gets into understanding Robert and Sarah a little. The movie is half over before we know if there is any connection between Robert and Sarah. What was established in the first half was that Robert is a heavy drinker and a philandering ass. Sarah is seen as not playing with a full deck and at one point tells her ex-husband the she thinks she is almost not crazy.

    The movie takes a different turn when a woman shows up at Robert's door with an eight-year-old boy and tells him the boy is his son, and would he take care of him for a weekend. Just to indicate how far from how any real person would react, Robert's reaction to this appearance of his son, whom he has not seen since the kid's birth, is along the lines of "Sure, come on in." Some interest is developed in seeing how a wastrel like Robert reacts to having his son on board. He does boot out the young prostitutes from his house, but then encourages the kid to drink a beer and takes him to Las Vegas.

    After a trip to Europe where Sarah carries around a train car full of luggage, and has a stereotypical argument with a Frenchman who doesn't speak English, she returns to the U.S. and winds up at Robert's house where we finally learn that Robert and Sarah are siblings. Once Sarah and Robert are together the movie gradually abandons any attempt to stay on this side of reality and ultimately zooms off into the ozone. The signature scene that has Sarah bringing a menagerie of animals to Robert's house in a taxi (including a couple of horses, a goat, a duck, a parrot, and some chickens) struck me as just absurd. I suppose it was meant to be humorous, but it fell flat for me.

    Almost every scene struck me as lasting too long. What was to be gained by seeing Robert stagger drunkenly down a hotel hallway for about a minute? The aggregation of the overly long scenes makes for an overly long movie.

    There are some interesting scene compositions and lighting techniques and that is why I give this more than one star.

    This is my third Cassavetes movie and I think it will be my last. He is on a different wavelength from me.
  • I just had the good fortune to view this beautiful film. It's a shame it isn't widely available (it's never been released on DVD in Region 1). As for the cast, the acting is outstanding, especially Gena Rowlands performance, which is sublime, and John Cassavetes himself, who commands the screen throughout. Moreover, it's very entertaining and watchable, so if you're wary of Cassavetes reputation for creating obtuse, difficult films you needn't be concerned here. As for the plot, what struck me most is how the film begins (Robert's house as a chaotic location filled with sex, yet devoid of anything resembling love) and ends (Robert all by himself - except for the menagerie Sarah brought home for him - after he's finally awakened to a real love--his Platonic love for Sarah). In other words, Sarah's mantra of love as a constant stream comes to pass. She may be mad, but her perceived insanity is really a beautiful vision at odds with our modern world and it's power offers the potential to save Robert from a life of despair.
  • "Love Streams," directed by and starring John Cassavetes, is a showpiece for the wonderful acting of Gena Rowlands. Having said that, I'll add my opinion that, other than Ms. Rowlands' superb talent, nothing much about the film is worth seeing.

    The film gives us a few days in the life of Robert Harmon (Cassavetes.) Harmon is an author--although we never see him writing--who is intelligent, handsome, and rich. He's also a womanizer--often with four of five women in a night--a drunk, and a thoughtless SOB.

    Meanwhile, Sarah Lawson (Gena Rowlands), his sister, is described as a "kook" in some of the movie's promotional material. She is not a kook. She's a troubled woman with serious mental health problems that appear to represent classic bipolar disorder.

    Harmon loves his sister, but isn't prepared to help her in any way other than offering her his home as a place to stay. Meanwhile, he's horribly cruel to his biological son, whom he hasn't seen for 12 years. He's equally cruel to a nightclub singer who apparently loves him, although he forces his way into her car, insists on driving her home when he's falling-down drunk, and tries to seduce her mother. (At least that's what I think he was trying to do--the screenplay was muddled and I was losing interest by then.)

    I actually think that director Cassavetes has a real fondness for the person being portrayed by actor Casavetes. I guess that if you share that fondness, you'll like the film. I didn't share it, and I didn't like it.

    Note: Medical howler: At one point, young Dr. Williams examines Sarah and says, "Her pupils aren't reacting properly, and she has a stiff neck. She needs medical attention." Harmon says something like, "You have to leave now doctor. I'll take care of my sister." Dr. Williams is describing signs of serious intracranial pathology. Those are not signs that will disappear with a warm hug and some brandy. We're talking life-threatening stroke or meningitis. Bad scene, but pretty much par for this film.
  • This movie is not a comedy as listed, it is pure drama. It is also an extremely bad drama not worth the effort of watching. While the movie touches on subjects such as mental illness, divorce and child custody it only does so in a very superficial way. There is no point to this movie as absolutely nothing happens except the mundane and the ordinary. There is no suspense, shock, plot twists or clever invention and is in no way thought provoking. The movie just meanders along boring the audience to death. Don't be fooled by the high rating there is nothing good about this movie. The story line is incredibly basic and the ideas are simple. You would find more drama and intrigue at your workplace than in this movie. At times the acting is so wooden you would think you were watching a low budget B Grade movie. So forget this movie and find something else to watch.
  • I have watched this movie many times over the years. As with all of Cassavetes movies, repeated viewing improves it. This is a good solid effort with a great final image of Cassavetes waving goodbye (both to Sarah & to us). - An interesting character study of a brother & sister. Nothing actually gets resolved during the course of the movie. We just get to watch these two characters for awhile. Both characters are just as messed up at the end as they were at the start.

    As much as I like the movie, I wouldn't go overboard raving about it. I recognize that it isn't perfect. I think that the opera dream sequence at the end of the picture is kind of annoying. However, on the positive side, it avoids including the bad acting that mar some of Cassavetes other movies.
  • The success of this meandering drama will depend entirely on personal taste and a tolerance for the Cassavetes style of improvisation, in which the virtues of an unpredictable scenario have to be weighed against the disadvantages of frequent tedium and pretentiousness. The greatest asset to the film is Gina Rowlands' nervous, neurotic energy while trundling nine thousand suitcases across a European airport, or (later) going on a spending spree at an animal farm and loading all the barnyard pets into a taxi cab. Actor director Cassavetes himself portrays her estranged brother, perhaps the film's biggest liability: a hard drinking, womanizing writer (aren't they all?) who doesn't seem to have ever written anything. A more liberal hand at the editing table might have pared away the dead space and found something resembling a story, which as it is seems to be concerned with the siblings' contradictory needs for affection.
  • Perhaps it's because I so recently saw "A Woman Under the Influence", but I found this movie predictable and self indulgent. It's pretty much the same movie, just shifted from middle-class Queens to too-much-money-and-no-responsibility California.

    Rowlands plays essentially the same character, with the same behaviors, and predictably unfortunate impacts on family life. In this movie, Cassavetes is also a very damaged character, but we get no hint of what caused either of them to be broken. We just watch them practicing their brokenness.

    This movie has the same joyless, unchanging lighting as "A Woman Under the Influence", the style of cinematography is the same. So for me it was too repetitive and predictable. (There is one funny spot where the camera crew is clearly visible, but I don't think that was intended, just a lack of editing).

    Not trying to take away from the very important contribution and influence of Cassavetes. But as a previous reviewer said, this one is for Cassavetes fans only.
  • Love Streams follows middle-aged writer Robert (John Cassavetes) and his sister Sarah (Gena Rowlands), a recently divorced mother with a history of depressions, who together with her daughter Debbie visits ill and dying people. Sarah soon loses her daughter who decides she'd rather stay with her father. Hurt by this event Sarah has to take her trip alone.

    Robert lives with a bunch of weird girls in a Playboy mansion style situation, roaming bars in search for subjects to write about. Among the colourful cast of characters he encounters he meets Susan, a black lounge singer with a wonderful voice who he seems to instantly fall for (just before literally falling down the set of stairs to her apartment). Despite his obvious interest in her he struggles and fails to make an emotional connection and things become more complicated for him when an ex of his brings over his son who he hasn't seen since the day he was born.

    Just as the kid almost settled in with Robert, Sarah shows up at his place unannounced and the siblings are finally united on screen (followed by one of the most beautiful and tender embraces I have seen in a movie) and the emotional roller-coaster really kicks off.

    Both Cassavetes and Rowland are at their best, and all of their scenes together are simply exhilarating. The film is filled with raw emotions, playful moments and surreal dreams and nearly tore me apart in ways I never expected. It's also one of Cassavetes most beautifully shot films (proving that he is not only capable to draw the interior of the soul but also has a painter's eye for the exterior world) "Love Streams" has a way of breaking the fourth wall without directly doing so. Many of the questions Robert poses to the girl he interviews early on could have easily been directed at the audience, same with Sara's psychiatric session. The most fantastic instance of this however is the ending, which has to be one of the most wonderful scenes I have ever seen.
  • My first Cassavetes, and I feel that I'm already familiar with his style!

    From the expressionistic framing, and fancy camera angles to memorable use of music, and multilayered audiovisual imagery, it's not hard at all to tell that John Cassavetes has a major influence on Paul Thomas Anderson's cinematic style and filming techniques.

    Almost every single frame keeps pushing the story forward, and adds something new while somehow develops the characters in it. The camera movements and the transitions, whether between a scene to another or in the scene itself, can reveal something that change your perspective on how you introduced to the sequence for the first time. But all these things happen both brilliantly quickly so they have a great subliminal impact on the viewer, and also that make them far from being flashy and ostentatious as they usually seem.

    That said, there are also many things concern Cassavetes's directing style that seemed fresh to me. The thing that I was impressed with the most is how he keeps the tone so dark and serious despite how strange and bizarre the characters are, and how lunatic and bonkers their actions seem. Unlike, PTA who is often lets the whimsical behavior of the his characters give a quirky touch to the movie, there is nothing funny or comical about Cassavetes's characters' weird doings and wacky sudden reactions!

    As an actor, Cassavetes gave a commanding performance as the pleasure-seeking writer Robert Harmon, although I wasn't invested in his character, and his story, not even a tiny bit! What makes the things worse is that the movie focuses on Robert Harmon's life for most of its runtime. Actually, the second act is almost only about him, and I was lost for the most part. On the other hand, I found Sarah Lawson's story quite interesting. Adding to that, Gena Rowlands mesmerized me with her soulful and moving performance. I feel so ashamed of myself because this is the first movie I watch for her. I really can't wait to watch A Woman Under the Influence, another Cassavetes's film that Rowlands arguably gave in the best performance in her career, nay one of the best performances by an actress in a leading role ever!

    The third act is by far the best part of the movie. The visual and allegorical imagery in it is one of the best I've seen in film. Some scenes reminded me of Lynch, but of course they are not this disturbing! The allegories used in this act are so subtle and genius, yet so easy to be understood, and can directly make you related to the characters, feel their emotions, and think of what they are thinking about, and that's definitely a proof that the main characters are well-rounded and established so well throughout the movie. That being said, there are some exposition to make the allegories more clear, which I found completely unnecessary as long as I already understand what's displayed on screen.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Two seemingly separate stories intertwine together in the saga of brother and sister who are living on the last strands of reality. Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes, a real life married couple, are parts of their own states of confusion, pretending to be things that they are not. Rowlands, in the process of a miserable separation from a miserable marriage, ends up at the home of her writer brother (Cassavettes), turning his life further upside down while continuing to head on her own downswing. He's a miserably unhappy Playboy and she's so determined to be happy that everyone around her ends up miserable as a result. In short, their lives, separated by different problems, shouldn't align at this point in their lives.

    Such amazing performances are given in a film that is at alternate points deeply depressing, often confusing, infrequently funny and often maddening. Rowlands briefly gets to meet Cassavette's son from a brief marriage and doesn't even use the phrase "aunt". In Cassavettes films, it is often impossible to tell what is reality and what is in the character's kinds. These are two extremely damaged people who are often living life in a world turned upside down, and their realities are not of any sensible existence.

    Some of the oddities here include Cassavettes' involvement with scores of obvious call girls and presence at a party where he encounters several female impersonators who question his sexuality, Rowland's bowling trip and purchase of some exotic pets, and most bizarrely, her dream of her ex-husband and daughter in a ballet setting. In spite of this parallel universe where their minds reside, I found that I could not take my eyes of it although I did find that I needed a break from it 3/4 through to regain my own sense of reality.
  • It was wonderful seeing John Cassavetes and wife Gena Rowlands play brother and sister, each with serious sanity issues, in 'Love Streams' (I had only previously seen them together in the stellar 'Opening Night', my favourite Cassavetes film), from a script he co-wrote with the author of the 1980 stage play, Ted Allan (Cassavetes' character, Robert Harmon, was originally played by Jon Voight on stage). While his earliest film, 'Shadows', is least pleasing to me simply because I don't feel his cast there was of the quality necessary to handle that large degree of spontaneity and improvisation, by two decades later, he had refined (and perhaps perfected) his approach, and it's a great day for the two stars as well as stock company mainstay Seymour Cassel, who's always a treat to see. I strongly urge that if you have a sibling you love but currently have problems relating with, to take the time, watch the film with them, and learn something about yourself. This is probably the finest moment of Golan-Globus Films as well...
  • One of the most original films I have ever seen, an accurate study of the Human Condition especially the meaning of love itself. The Acting and the editing alone make this one worth watching.
  • The last time I watched "Love Streams" I didn't like it so much. Today I watched it and I couldn't pull myself away from it. John Cassavetes was a one of a kind filmmaker. Nobody else could have pulled this one off. Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands both give solid performances The rest of the cast is also very good (for the most part). "Love Streams" is a compelling watch. No filmmaker understands drinkers better than Cassavetes (runner-up: Blake Edwards). However, it does go on a bit too long. It runs out of gas during the last fifteen minutes or so. A shorter running time may have fixed that problem. That said, I need to watch "Love Streams" (and most of Cassavetes' movies) more often.
  • treywillwest3 August 2016
    Cassavetes's oeuvre has consistently been misinterpreted at "realist." In fact, his films are generally expressionistic- self-conscious presentations of his mind-set-as-such. Having said that his earlier films, which I must say sometimes upset me with what I found to be their misogynistic machismo, often struck me as trying to use artistic expression to make subjective masculinity seem like an objectivity- a fact to be taken into consideration. Jackson Pollock did this too, of course. The difference is that Pollock, in his work if not life, never presented the female as lesser in relation to male subjectivity.

    Cassavetes, sadly, did so often, but not, I will venture, in this work. In Love Streams the filmmaker's fantasies are his alone- he asks for no ratification from the audience. Yes: a character played by him is an awful date to a woman who then falls for the character. But I think we are not meant to identify with either the male or the female in this scenario so much as with ourselves as viewers. Cassavetes is putting his id on display here and asks simply for recognition of his subjectivity as such.

    Indeed, if there is a figure of identification for the viewer it is the character played by Gena Rowlands, the sister of the Cassavetes figure. Befuddled and disgusted by a world that does not acknowledge her romantic demands she is that which her brother, the artistic articulation of suffering and resolution, can only satisfy. He does so by taking the mantle of an Old Testament martyr, but one capable of laughing and crying at and for himself.
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