“You waitin’ for somebody?”
After passively giving up custody of her children, a coal-mining wife (Barbara Loden) wanders into a life of crime with a gruff stranger she meets in a bar (Michael Higgins).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Character Studies
- Feminism and Women’s Issues
- Mining Towns
- Road Trip
Response to Peary’s Review:
This slow, honest film — regarded as “an interesting failure” upon its release — tells of a “passive, unskilled, uneducated, unambitious” woman with little sense of personal worth or agency. The satisfaction Wanda (Loden) finds in assisting her new lover (Higgins) with a bank heist shows how desperately this demoralized woman longs to prove her utility in some way. You’ll be frustrated and saddened when watching Wanda passively accept “the hostility, insults, and demands” placed upon her by Higgins (a total loser), but also intrigued by what will happen next. Indeed, as Peary notes, the grainy film — shot in 16 mm — has “the look and feel of a documentary” made with a hidden camera, thus adding to the feeling that one is watching “real life” unfolding, frame by frame.
- Barbara Loden’s understated performance as Wanda
Yes, for its historical importance.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)