Love Streams

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Image from Love StreamsCassavetes' last film about a brother, a famous writer, and sister, recently divorced, both undergoing crisis of identity. 1984 (141m. Color) Stars Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes.


This is Cassavetes' richest and most complex film, and the most painful to watch of all his films (meaning almost unbearable). In her final performance as the trademark Cassavetes crazy lady, Rowlands embodies the spirit of romantic, self-sacrificing love in a world where such devotion is neither honored nor wanted. Cassavetes is her alter ego, an almost Satanic figure symbolizing nihilistic self-gratification. Cassavetes' parting message to us: don't you be either of these people. -Anne Sharp

He says also: while caught in a love stream, you may end drowned but the energy that goes with it is worth the journey. we have strong feelings for both of them, and somehow the idea that being any of them could be wrong and being both of them some kind of an achievement.
Absolutely stunning!!
Anybody who has ever loved someone so desperately that they felt so stupid, proud, and confused knows what John meant by Love Streams. Can you even imagine how hard it was for him and Gena to even contiplate the end - after thirty years. No one has ever truly 'captured' what love can be and is and is not than John Cassavetes. Can you even imagine being loved through, with, in a stream? I wish I had had the chance to meet them. See all his movies -they will touch you in the most painful, frustrating, and elating ways - ways you can never imagine. - KEM
For each seemingly reprehensible act (abandoning a son, striking a wife) only the is represented, there is no isolated malice or evil present. Everyone has a humanity in the film, no characters are left to suffer as cyphers. How many directors could resist passing judgement on the stepfather or Seymour Cassell's character? Their biggest crimes are shown to be humanely stupid. Two more smaller reflections: I thought hawling a stubborn goat in out of the storm was a very Greek depiction of male tenderness; and do the final scenes in the storm make anyone else recast Cassavettes as Noah in his hat and smock coat?- Anthony Dolphin
I saw this film. I will not forget this film. I will see this film, tomorrow.
john shows that we are solid like rocks, his charcators can hurl themselves into such emotionally tumultous situations. But love, our spirituality is water - something we can't get a handle or control. For me the film examines the differences between different understandings of our world.- Felim Mac Dermott
I have only seen Love Streams once, 15 years ago and I have yearned to view it again ever since. i remember only one or two details from it. But the ugly crazy fun thing that Cassavettes captured in most of his film efforts , in terms of integrity superfreaks acting out their heartfelt and petty obsessions right in front of each other and watching the characters be with each act of selfishness and love, permenantly affected me. Life and films are missing all that beauty. I hope to view this Masterpiece again soon. Paolo Visentin
This was one of the first "American Independent" films I remember seeing in its original theatrical release, and I'm eternally grateful to the friend who dragged me kicking and screaming to see it (it sounded dreadful to me, as described.) Love Streams is one of those rare films that succeeds in expressing verities about life and love that most of us feel are unexpressable, but essential. Rowlands' characters musing about how Love Streams continue even after the end of a relationship was, when I first saw the movie as a very young man, an insight that both haunted and helped me in later years. I'm sure we can all relate. Why then, are such simple truths so rarely expressed with such naked honesty in American films? One of the most frequent comments by lovers of Cassavetes' ouvre is that his films are so "honest." Indeed, and that's why they'll endure and continue to be rediscovered. When the movie was originally released to VHS in the '80's, I rented it to show to some friends. I was the only one remaining in the room by the end of the movie. Nobody thought it was a poor film, rather, they were too disturbed by its being "too close too home" for them to endure in the company of others. Now that's effective art! (I think...) - Dean Estes
The picture of Gena Rowlands unloading the taxi of its goats, sheep, and roosters, and Cassavetes reaction, is one of the greatest moments in American film history. -Dean Imperial
I always think of the scene where Cassavetes is drunk, hysterically laughing, alone, watching the storm through slide glass doors... This is how I always pictured him reading reviews.
Never have two hearts broken more quietly, more devastatingly. My favorite Cassavetes films... and my first.
To get grasped from a distance. That means a most perfect acting which reveals its sources: the body, the spirit, the soul. And this the viewer gets as a present. Nothing more is possible. Theo Thiesmeier

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Text Copyright 2003 by Ray Carney. All rights reserved. May not be reprinted without written permission of the author.