Love Streams (1984): Emotional Fable from John Cassavetes, Co-Starring Gena Rowlands

In Love Streams, a late entry from John Cassavetes, the writer-director-star plays Robert Harmon, a street-wise, sometimes obnoxious writer currently working on a book about the seamier side of buying and-selling love.

This film, which won the Golden Bear Award at the 1984 Berlin Film Fest, was received warmly by critics, and is one of the director’s more accessible works.  However, like most of Cassavetes’ previous features, it did not do particularly well at the box-office.

Cassavetes’ real-life wife plays Sarah Lawson, an emotionally unstable wife and mother struggling through a divorce and custody battle.

When Sarah lands on Robert’s doorstep with her suitcases, it seems at first that she has returned to her husband. Robert has several women staying at his place, but when Sarah arrives with their young son, he sends the women away.

It turns out that Sarah is Robert’s beloved sister. The two must face their own demons and work out their own hurdles. Robert is the unaccustomed father with his 8-year-old son, and Sarah has hard time coping with her custody battle

Their divergent way of handling adversity and personal burdens becomes the text and subtext of the film, due to the personalities involved in front and behind the cameras.


Running time: 13 minutes.

Directed by John Cassavetes

Written by Ted Allan

Released: August 24, 1984