review for A Woman's Face on AllMovie

A Woman's Face (1941)
by Craig Butler review

A wonderful vehicle forJoan Crawford, A Woman's Face provided the then-waning star with the kind of character she could really sink her teeth into. Crawford, aided by director George Cukor, turns in a powerhouse portrayal that used many of her past performances as a jumping off point but gives her the opportunity to demonstrate a greater range than was often the case. Clearly, any actress relishes a "transformation" role, in which a character changes not just physically but emotionally over the course of a film, and Crawford lavished a lot of attention on this part. It shows in the careful way she delineates changes in the character, how she lets her develop over the course of the film but still provides jolts of excitement that never let one forget for a minute that this is a star one is watching. Cukor's work is quite good; he knows that Face is all about his star and frames her beautifully, but he doesn't neglect his very fine and able supporting cast. There are good moments from all the major players, and Conrad Veidt in particular comes off well. The physical production is also lovely, combining the gloss one expects of Cukor with a slightly darker edge.