I feel a bit stupid on this one. Lionized by most critics as a neglected masterpiece, I certainly liked it, and respected it's lofty aims, but didn't flat out love it. The two lead performances by Sissy Spacek and Shelly Duvall are wonderful, and the film has more than its share of powerful and creepy moments.
But the film - based on a dream of Altman's, and not trying to make any literal sense - feels overly self-conscious and arty at times. I found the music intrusive, almost shouting `see how weird this is?' And a lot of the symbolism, like the paintings that run through the film, feels bit heavy handed and obvious. Alternately some plot twists feel arbitrary, not thought through.
This is often compared to David Lynch's dream films Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. But I found both of those a little more fun, and they felt more cohesive in their dream worlds, even if I didn't always know what was going on.
Now, having said all that, I do look forward to seeing it again. I've often found some of my very favorite films are complex and challenging works that don't jell on 1st viewings, only to have those petty annoyances fall away on a second look. In any case, if you're up for something challenging, this is a terrifically acted, unique and brave film, and certainly worth a look. And - since it's a film that plays on subconscious more than literal levels - I suspect no two people will react to this exactly the same way.