Faces is right: this definitive John Cassavetes film consists almost exclusively of tight, uncomfortable close-ups. It takes place in the fourteenth year of the marriage of Richard (John Marley) and Maria (Lynn Carlin). Neither husband nor wife is content with the conditions that prevail; Maria joins her friends looking for romantic satisfaction elsewhere, while Richard secures the services of a prostitute (Gena Rowlands). Maria herself has a one-night stand with a hippie (Seymour Cassel), but this is no more satisfying than her dead-end marriage. If you think that Faces is an exhausting experience in its current 130-minute length, imagine what it looked like in Cassavetes' original six-hour cut. Alternately clumsy and profound, it is nonetheless a work of deep sincerity, as recognized by the Venice Film Festival, which bestowed no fewer than five awards on the film, and it perfectly exemplifies Cassavetes' improvisational, cinéma vérité style and searching explorations of modern relationships.
by Hal Erickson synopsis