Love Streams

141 minutes 2013

John Cassavetes's career of risk taking comes to a climax in this rich, original, emotionally magnificent 1984 film about a brother who is unable to love (Cassavetes) and a sister who loves too much (Gena Rowlands). For half its length the film follows their separate experiences—he as a celebrated novelist living a life of desperate dissolution in Los Angeles; she as a wife and mother undergoing a painful divorce in Chicago—and then brings them together for a rocky reunion. At the climax they trade roles, and each is alone again in a new way. Cassavetes follows his vision to the limit, a course that takes him through extravagance, indulgence, and hysteria—yet for all of his apparent disdain for classical construction, there isn't a moment in the film that doesn't find its place in a grand design. With Seymour Cassel and Diahnne Abbott.

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