At once a lament to the ravages of age and an examination of those tiny foibles which separate reality from dramatic artifice, it’s a baffling and intricate film which, although light on conventional pleasures, still manages to provoke and beguile.
Opening Night is a reminder of what has made Mr. Cassavetes's films so appealing, and of what can make them so maddening, too. For all its length -- nearly two and three-quarter hours -- it's a relatively thin example of the director's work, but a mischievous and inviting one, too.
There is no attempt to explain why an actress would go to pieces when she discovers a point of identity with her role; nor why an actress who is constantly loony, drunk, abusive or all three would not be understudied, let alone replaced. It should be noted that the play-within-the-movie is even worse than the movie-about-the-play. [14 Apr 1978, p.18]