Performing Persona


Laura Ivins


Published on/by

Indiana University Cinema


Accompanying text

Robert Altman is known for eliciting nuanced performances from his actors. His 1977 film, 3 Women, is no different. In it, Sissy Spacek plays the inscrutable Pinky Rose, a childlike woman who is infatuated with Shelley Duvall’s character, Millie Lammoreaux. Pinky morphs over the course of the film, eventually adopting Millie’s persona, much to Millie’s confusion.

Duvall and Spacek construct their characters through their faces. In this more impressionistic video essay, I juxtapose the faces and the performances of Duvall and Spacek, occasionally also adding an appearance of Janice Rule, who plays Willie Hart (the third woman).