Review: ‘Minnie and Moskowitz’

Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel play the title roles in Minnie And Moskowitz, an oppressive and irritating film in which a shrill and numbing hysteria of acting and direction soon kills any empathy for the loneliness of the main characters. John Cassavetes wrote and directed in his now-familiar home-movie improvisational and indulgent style.

Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel play the title roles in Minnie And Moskowitz, an oppressive and irritating film in which a shrill and numbing hysteria of acting and direction soon kills any empathy for the loneliness of the main characters. John Cassavetes wrote and directed in his now-familiar home-movie improvisational and indulgent style.

The characters in Cassavetes’ script are the ‘little people’ who inhabit kitchen-sink dramas. When such people exist in reality, they are leasebreakers, who lower property values, create Saturday night brawls and otherwise earn the total contempt of neighbors.

Cassavetes has laid on with a trowel the silicones of borderline personal psychosis. The principals live on the knife-edge of breakdown.

Rowlands, fed up with a back-street affair with Cassavetes, unbilled as a married man whose wife Judith Roberts tries suicide, has a friend in co-worker Elsie Ames but little more. Rescuing her from a tight situation with pushy blind date Val Avery, Seymour Cassel outdoes in boorishness anything Avery might have tried. Cassel makes King Kong look like Cary Grant.

Minnie and Moskowitz

Production

Faces Music/Universal. Director John Cassavetes; Producer Al Ruban; Screenplay John Cassavetes; Camera Arthur J. Ornitz, Alric Edens, Michael Margulies; Editor Fred Knudtson; Music Bo Harwood (sup.)

Crew

(Color) Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 114 MIN.

With

Gena Rowlands Seymour Cassel Val Avery Timothy Carey Katherine Cassavetes John Cassavetes
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