Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review: Women in Love (1969)

Simply put: this is one of the most unique movies ever made. But before reviewing it, a bit of history: I first caught this movie on TV about two years ago without any knowledge that it was Women in Love actually. And I was not aware either that the woman whose acting particularly amazed me was Glenda Jackson who actually won an Oscar for it.
This time of course I was more aware and I knew what to expect. I was not disappointed, oh not a bit. This was a haunting and amazing experience for me.
It's about two friends, Rupert (Alan Bates) and Gerald (Oliver Reed) who fall in love with the Brangwen sisters, Gudrun (Jackson), a sculptor and Ursula (Jennie Linden), a teacher. Throughout the movie they discover the real nature of love and commitment, and their relationships completely change.
Well these characters in my humble opinion are so messed up, demanding, conceited and even selfish, but they perfectly define the basic human mistakes. You cannot really say that Rupert, whose sentences are as empty and pretentious as possible, or the hysterical Ursula, or the weirdo Gudrun or Gerald are so kind characters but you completely understand their motivations. They are people searching (and starving) for love.
Ken Russel's directing nomination was extremely well-deserved, I may even say that he deserved it (maybe in a tie with Robert Altman). He managed to direct all of the scenes thrillingly beautifully and of course the magnificent cinematography also has a key role in it. I haven't seen Ryan's Daughter yet, but its cinematography must be awesome as it was able to beat both Women in Love and Patton.
The performances are unbelievable: the two leading men are simply astonishing. I think I prefered the acting of Alan Bates, but Oliver Reed was fine too. Their wrestling scene is very subtly directed and excellently acted, so it's IMO suitable for conservative people too.
Jennie Linden is also outstanding as Ursula, but Glenda Jackson completely stole the show. That woman could really act and I'm very sorry that she's more busy being a politician than being an actress. And I must add that her dancing scene is AMAZING: it's so thrilling, so mysterious, so attractive, so sexy, so brilliant. She really deserved this Oscar but even though this win of hers is better, I slightly prefer her in A Touch of Class (dear, she was magnificent in that one!). Again, an Oscar deserved.
I really cannot complain about this movie, except for maybe the rather slow beginning which is on the edge of becoming boring. But again this movie is brilliant. In time, this might become one of my favorite ones. Another must-see!
My Grade: 9.5/10
Nominations: Best Director (Ken Russel); Best Actress (Jackson, WON); Best Screenplay; Best Cinematography
My wins: Actress and Cinematography


Anonymous said...

Completely agree!

Glenda Jackson is for the ages!

joe burns said...

I will probably see this soon since I'm doing 70's Best Actress winners. I'll watch it right after One Flew Over The Cukoo's Nest. By the way, it came out in 1970, not in 1969.

Anonymous said...

Nope, it was released in 1969, and only came to the USA in 1970 :)

joe burns said...

Oh, yeah, I thought it might be something like that.

danyulengelke said...

Great review!

We're linking to your article for Academy Monday at

Keep up the good work!