Quick-Thoughts: John Cassavetes’ Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)

Oh how I’ve missed John Cassavetes and the absolute… dread… that his movies make me feel. Anyways though, this movie should’ve been called “U-Turns and Moskowitz” instead.

Something I’ve come to notice as a frequent custom of Cassavetes regarding his films is that he has his actors willingly repeat a lot of the same lines over and over again, but I can’t help but connect with that myself because these instances usually occur whenever either two strangers are interacting or someone close to another is trying to convince them of something that really isn’t true. It seems to me that in conversations such as these, lines may technically be worded differently but a lot of the times they feel like desperate, ingenuine manipulations to make themselves appear like they care when they really don’t give a s**t or are doing so because they themselves internally wish they were interested enough to the degree of being able to eulogize someone constantly to an obnoxious tea, hence why in full view it’s basically just repetition. Cassavetes to me understands this phony talk we find clashing in ourselves, and decides to cut the bulls**t in his bitterness of it, making characters repeat exact lines over and over again, representing the uncovered form of our blabber and revealing how much reiteration we have to say to others and in a psychological way back to ourselves to convince all which are inclusive that what we’re saying comes from the heart and out of places of assuredness for the world we live in, when in reality, it may just derive from a habit that comes from very human, social insecurities, as if we need these tedious, idealistic claims to keep us from actually using our brains — stay away from mental chaos!

Minnie and Moskowitz deals in characters who are able to easily explode emotionally as if the background of society has been stripped down, a personality trait of character writing and performance that almost seems too rare in the world of cinema. In reality, people aren’t programed to be able to bottle that emotion up to complete mental tranquility, and I love it when movies understand that and showcase characters who are vulnerable enough sometimes to lose their sense of any precaution to what society sees even if just for a couple minutes, whether we’re dealing with complete jackasses of characters that you want to spit at or one’s you feel are true victims to the people that encompass them, fueling desperation.

I mean, Minnie and Moskowitz in general feels like a Woman’s hellhole as well. It’s an outspoken exemplar of a time period’s common male thinking but amplified by psycho characters to really showcase how ugly misogynistic mindsets are compared to if they were presented through the supposedly “normal”, quiet types. But, even like the film’s diss on the inauthenticity of cinema especially when it comes to romances, as much as you may hate having to witness difficult people as your leads in a story, Cassavetes simply doesn’t write Prince Charmings because he knows there aren’t any. In a world so merciless, and when you’re so lonely right in it, you may just be willing enough to resort to opening up with the most selfish and unpleasant of individuals. It’s amazing how the state of what we live in could drive us anywhere at this point, no matter how demeaning the destination may be. Sadly, sometimes we allow ourselves to be imprisoned by others because that’s just how we were taught, to forget about the self and worry about the ironically terrible people that cornered us into this box in the first place. Is this what love is? Jeepers.

Oh, and pass it down to our kids too, why don’t we? Smh.

Verdict: A-

John Cassavetes Ranked

“Minnie and Moskowitz” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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