3 Women (1977) - Rotten Tomatoes

3 Women (1977)



Critic Consensus: 3 Women is a strange, eerie portrait of late-'70s womanhood that upends and then defies all expectations.

Movie Info

Robert Altman's Three Women takes a surreal, improvisational and rather eerie look at the lives of three women in a western desert town. The plot centers around the youngest of the women, Pinky (Sissy Spacek), an eccentric, withdrawn woman trying to begin a new life. She finds work as an attendant at a hot springs spa catering to the elderly and infirm. There she befriends her co-worker Millie (Shelley Duvall), an equally strange but more outgoing woman; the two bond, and are soon sharing an apartment. Pinky becomes increasingly dependent on Millie, eventually adopting aspects of her personality and appearance. This obsessive attachment is threatened when Pinky discovers Millie with a man -- Edgar (Robert Fortier), the macho, faux-cowboy husband of local artist Willie (Janice Rule), the last of the title's three women. Pinky's subsequent, desperate actions precipitate the film's enigmatic conclusion, involving an unexpected series of confrontations and role reversals amongst the three women. This story tends to take a backseat to the elliptical, spooky imagery, particularly the desert landscapes, and the quirky performances -- not surprising, given that the film was reportedly shot without a full screenplay and inspired by Altman's own dreams. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Shelley Duvall
as Millie Lammoreaux
Sissy Spacek
as Pinky Rose
Janice Rule
as Willie Hart
Robert Fortier
as Edgar Hart
Ruth Nelson
as Mrs. Rose
John Cromwell
as Mr. Rose
Sierra Pecheur
as Mr. Bunweill
John Davey
as Dr. Norton
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Critic Reviews for 3 Women

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (10)

The result is remarkable -- a semi-lucid, feverish tale of female relationships that disintegrates into a kind of woozy, oppressive madness.

July 16, 2015 | Rating: 5/5
Top Critic

Throughout, Duvall is brilliant: she coins a brand-new caricature of the confident yet clueless single female, then suggests a real person underneath.

December 15, 2014 | Full Review…

The film is rich in brilliant oddities and juxtapositions, never more so than when Duvall and Spacek are encompassed in the same frame.

December 9, 2014 | Full Review…

Like a dream, it is most mysterious and allusive when it appears to be most precise and direct, when its images are of the recognizable world unretouched (as happens in the film from time to time) by camera filters or lab technicians.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

An incisive portrait of psychological alienation.

May 3, 2005 | Full Review…

I have seen it many times, been through it twice in shot-by-shot analysis, and yet it always seems to be happening as I watch it. Recurring dreams are like that.

March 5, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for 3 Women


2nd time watching this, still can't claim to understand the ending, but wow, such a good movie. Really enjoyed the relationship between these two women. The third in the end is too seldom in the movie to have any real impact. I also lean towards the theory that Millie and Pinkie are the same person, but hard to say.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Wide-eyed Pinky (Sissy Spacek) latches onto delusional Millie (Shelly Duval) until an accident causes a radical personality shift. Fascinating, subtly unnerving psychological mystery that provides a bridge between PERSONA (1966) and LOST HIGHWAY (1997).

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer


'She tries not to shatter, kaleidoscope style Personality changes behind her red smile Every new problem brings a stranger inside Heplessly forcing one more new disguise.'

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

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