Philip Carroll’s review published on Letterboxd:
This French film takes place over three days as it follows a widow who lives in an apartment with her son, as she does her daily housework while having men over to pay her for sex.
They really should have just called this, Good Housekeeping: the movie, because it's literally 3 hours and 20 minutes of a woman cooking and cleaning all day with very little dialogue and almost no music (except for the few times she turns the radio on). There's no camera paning at all. Each shot is one long take of her doing her daily chores from one room to the next. When her son gets home from school, they barely say a word to one another. She just serves him dinner and they eat in silence with the occasional small talk. This is one of those movies where you could leave the room for half an hour or more and come back and not have missed anything. I've always had a pet peeve with people that put a movie on that they've never seen before and then start doing other things around the house and then come back 15 minutes later and are confused and ask you what happened. However, in this case, I would make the exception. So from a cynical point of view, this movie might be the most boring movie I've ever seen.
As for me personally, once I made it through the first day of this woman's life, I began to find the movie fascinating and kept wondering what would happen the next two days. I'm not sure if I was waiting for something to go wrong or for her to go crazy or what. But I began to sence that something was building up and had to know what. And I did start to notice little things that would go wrong and screw up her routine on day two. Whether if it was dropping a spoon she just cleaned on the floor or burning the potatoes on the stove and having to go to the store and buy more. It was crazy how much these small details affected the rest of her day. Even when her son comes home who normally barley says anything to her, comments on her hair not being done or her forgetting to button a button on her shirt. Suddenly, I found myself getting angry after seeing this woman do all this work all day and her son criticizing her appearance. Then I realized, "this is a feminist movie". And sure enough, it was a film made by a crew of all women which is pretty impressive, especially during the 70s. Then on day three, things got even more interesting as she herself starts taking small breaks and having a drink when she's normally constantly on the move and working on something. Then finally, we get to the climax of the movie and the aftermath which was mesmerizing to watch. I realize these "interesting" moments I'm talking about sound laughably dull, but when you've invested this much time on this one single character doing the same repetitive things, trust me, it can be thrilling to see them break their monotonous routine.
I can certainly see how this could be considered a good movie and was certainly experimental for it's time and is still relevant today for all the housewives out there. But I don't quite get why it's on the list as the greatest movies of all time. I'd agree with it being the greatest feminine movie of all time because it certainly got me rooting for this woman. But there were just too many long takes of her just sitting there and doing absolutely nothing for my tastes. It's a great character study though, and I can honestly say I've never seen a film like this before. But I don't think I could bring myself to watch it again. This is definitely a movie for film geeks and not for general audiences.