I will gladly accept pats on the back and queries of “Are you okay?” after you all have heard that I've watched this film 2 and a half times. Yes, Husbands is a rough one, just like all of Cassavetes's masterpieces (even his “romantic comedy” is a scream filled test of one's faith in humanity)… but the anguish is worth it.
Cassavetes's free-style direction and the brilliant, partially adlibbed performances by Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, and the man himself are mesmerizing. The film begins with the death of one of their own, another middle aged suburban man stuck in a world he doesn't own like he used to. What follows begins with a bender and ends with divorce. There are also some hookers along the way.
Amazingly, some critics called this a sexist movie. I can only assume they meant sexist towards men, because these badly behaved and badly damaged men could turn you off to the sex forever.
Cassavetes is almost indisputably the father of independent cinema. Even today his hard hitting and meandering approach to storytelling seems avant garde. A newish collection has just been released by Criterion with many of his classics including Shadows and A Woman Under the Influence. This film may not be as recognized as those, but is a worthy entry in an extraordinary career.