Faces is a 1968 film directed by John Cassavetes.
It is about the existential despair and ennui among upper-class suburbanites. The story centers around a married couple, Richard and Maria; he is an executive at a finance company and she (this being 1968) is his stay-at-home wife. Their marriage might or might not have had something to do with love at some point, but the film finds them having dissolved into mutual resentment. One night a seemingly pleasant but actually tense conversation ends with Richard demanding a divorce. Richard leaves the house immediately, going off to see Jeannie (Gena Rowlands), a high-end prostitute. Maria goes out with her friends, where she meets a businessman at the bar.
- The Cameo: Don Siegel, Hollywood film director who directed John Cassavetes in the 1964 version of The Killers, is an extra at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go.
- Establishing Character Moment: When a cranky Richard barks "You look lousy" to his attentive secretary, we learn a lot about him right off the bat.
- Extremely Short Time Span: A single evening.
- Face Framed in Shadow: How Jeannie is framed as Freddie, off-camera, starts screaming about how she's a whore—Freddie is mad because Richard showed up and she started paying more attention to him.
- Handsome Lech: Chet, the vaguely skeezy blow-dried guy that Maria and her three friends come home with. Somehow, the fact that Chet came home with four middle-aged housewives rather than one makes him creepier.
- High-Class Call Girl: Jeannie receives clients in her own home and charges at least $200 (in 1968 money).
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Jeannie specifically denies this, saying "I haven't got a heart of gold." But as later becomes clear, she really cares about Richard in a way she doesn't care about all the other gross businessmen who pay her.
- Lady Drunk: All four of the women in Maria's little group are melancholy, but Florence, the drunkest and the one most nakedly desperate for affection, stands out.
- Shout-Out: The opening scene is sleazy, pathetic ad man Freddy Draper screening a commercial film for Richard. Freddy says "We call it La Dolce Vita for the commercial set."
- Slip into Something More Comfortable: When Jeannie says she's going to change from her dress into something more comfortable, Freddy says "My heart! It's so excited!" Subverted when Jeannie comes out wearing a simple sweater and slacks. Notably, when Jeannie's with Richard, whom she likes a lot better, she does change into a nightie.
- Speech-Centric Work: The whole movie is talking, as through a series of encounters people are forced to deal with the emptiness of their lives.
- Stepford Smiler: Richard and Maria make happy, pleasant talk, even laughing and telling jokes, but there's a thick undercurrent of tension that occasionally bursts out. Eventually he demands a divorce and walks out of the house.
- Stylistic Suck: Most of the independent films made by Cassavetes were No Budget affairs but he really pushed it to the limit here, filming Deliberately Monochrome with a handheld 16mm camera. The movie looks like one of the "cinema verite" documentaries that were becoming popular in that era, like Primary or 1969 film Salesman.
- Take That!: Maria wants to go to a movie.Maria: There's a Bergman film in the neighborhood.
Richard: I don't feel like getting depressed tonight.