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Love Streams (1984)

Love Streams is a 1984 American film directed by John Cassavetes, in what would be his final independent feature and penultimate directorial project. The film tells the story of a middle-aged brother (Cassavetes) and sister (Gena Rowlands) who find themselves relying on one another after being abandoned by their loved ones.


Undergoing a messy divorce from a husband and daughter tired of her continuously overwrought emotional states,Sarah Lawson visits her brother Robert Harmon, an alcoholic playboy and writer who is in a relationship with Susan, a professional singer, although he carefully avoids any real emotional commitment to anyone. Robert is visited by his ex-wife, who forces him to take care of their eight-year-old son, whom he has never met, for 24 hours.

Robert’s son is terrified by the hedonistic, decadent, womanizing world of his father and begs to be taken home following an overnight trip to Las Vegas filled with gambling and prostitutes. After dropping him off, Robert is beaten up by the boy’s stepfather, after which his son testifies his love for Robert.

Fleeing the scene, Robert returns home to take care of his sister, his “best friend.” Sarah tries with some success to curb the nihilistic self-destruction of Robert’s life and simultaneously deal with her own depression and divorce. She gets him some animals hope he can give his love to them and Robert struggles between his intense desire to protect his sister and the challenge of accepting her freedom as the necessary cost of love. Finally, after a bizarre dream of being in an opera with her husband and daughter, Sarah feels ready to resume her life and possibly even get her family back, or not. She walks away from the house in the middle of a storm as Robert looks on kind of sadly. He hallucinates that one of the dogs she gave him has turned into a naked man and is waving at him.