A Woman Under the Influence (1974) dir. John Cassevetes
Gena Rowlands plays Mabel, an all-American housewife who suffers from mental illness. She's functional, and doesn't seem dangerous. The only real problem is that other people find her very annoying. Usually characters with mental illness are characterized as holy fools, and the audience isn't supposed to feel anything towards them other than a mixture of awe and pity.
But, director John Cassavetes gives us the time to get to know Mabel. We look at her the way her husband looks at her -- we find her exhausting, but we like her and care about her.
So, what happens when Mabel gets treatment? When she comes back like Alex in A Clockwork Orange?
http://www.hulu.com/watch/253074 A Woman Under the Influence is #128 on the 2013 edition of the TSPDT 1,000 list I’m blogging through. I’ve now seen 438.