A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence is a 1974 American drama film written and directed by John Cassavetes. The story follows a woman (Gena Rowlands) whose unusual behavior leads to conflict with her blue-collar husband (Peter Falk) and family. It received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Actress and Best Director.


Mabel Longhetti, a Los Angeles housewife and mother, sends her three children to spend the night with her mother but is extremely hesitant to do so. She is a heavy drinker and exhibits strange behavior. That night, she meets a man at a bar and he takes her home. Despite her protests, he forces her to dance with him and appears to sexually assault her at the bottom of the stairs. She wakes up the next morning in bed and the man is still there. She is confused and briefly argues with him before he leaves calling him by her husband’s name. Her construction foreman husband, Nick, argues with his crew over bringing them to his house, saying he is ashamed of his 'crazy' wife. He succumbs to their cajoling and brings them over without being able to call Mabel beforehand. She makes everyone spaghetti, which Nick seems strangely critical of. The meal is superficially pleasant, then sours once Nick snaps at Mabel for flirting and dancing with the men.