Minnie and Moskowitz

Director: John Cassavetes
Screenwriters: John Cassavetes

Institute History

  • 1989 Sundance Film Festival


If John Cassavetes ever made a slight film, it’s Minnie and Moskowitz. Studded with scenes that are bizarre and even shocking, it’s still an (unadmitted?) attempt to be nice again. We watch Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel fall in live because they’re wonderful actors, and their scenes gleam with original gestures and equally original lines—but Gena and Seymour? No way. While we believe in each character individually, they just don’t have enough mutual chemistry to make their sudden love convincing. In fact, years later in random film conversations, the scene I hear mentioned doesn't take place between them at all; it’s the utterly weird meeting of Cassel and Timothy Carey in a diner—that’s chemistry. Yet, as far as the story’s concerned, the Cassel-Carey exchange is gratuitous, to say the least.

After exposing the American way of marriage so glaringly in Faces and Husbands, it would take more than the fluff of Minnie and Moskowitz to redeem that institution. That work was left to the overwhelming undertaking of A Woman under the Influence.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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