One of Altman's most enigmatic and personal films, this study of three women who exchange personalities (based on a dream of Altman's) combines comedy, suspense, social comment, and Bergmanesque reverie to weird but often wonderful effect. What really holds the film together is Shelley Duvall's breathtaking performance as the vacuous, gossipy therapist who becomes mentor to the naïve Spacek after the latter moves in as her flatmate. The third woman is a mute painter (Rule), fashioning her fears and fantasies into mythic murals of male aggression and female victimisation. Although any feminist content is undercut by the advent of insanity halfway through, and the plot construction is not entirely cohesive, the film succeeds through its perky, acute portrait of ordinary people living stunted lives against a backdrop of consumer-orientated glamour fuelled by films and advertising. Often very funny, always stylish, it's a fascinating film for all its faults.
Cast and crew