[Opening Night] is highly ambitious in its basic conception, yet terribly disappointing in its realization. This is particularly devastating since the main conflict in the film is between the writer's static vision recorded in the script and the players' improvisation embodied in a living performance….
Opening Night immediately plunges us into a double reality of stage and screen and a double perspective on the performance. At first we identify with the actress [Gena Rowlands]: we share her nervous anticipation and see the audience from her point of view. But as soon as she begins to interact with Cassavetes [who portrays a photographer], we resume our more familiar role as audience...
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