The story of a very dysfunctional family and what happens when the parents divorce. Eve (Geraldine Page) and Arthur (EG Marshall) are a 60-something couple, recently separated. They have three adult daughters - Renata (Diane Keaton), Joey (Mary Beth Hurt) and Flyn (Kristin Griffith). Renata is a poet and is married to Frederick (Richard Jordan). Joey is (reluctantly) in advertising and is married to Mike (Sam Waterston). Joey is a film and TV actress. Eve is an incredibly negative woman and this has had a toxic effect on her children. This results in stifling, unsupportive relationships and joyless lives. Written by
According to Eric Lax's book "Woody Allen: A Biography" (1991), Woody Allen once said of this film: "Take the last speech in the Russian Uncle Vanya [by Anton Chekhov]. It's extremely poetical, and nobody talks like that, really. Yet that's how I was trying to write in those dramas. After I saw it, with Diane Keaton, it became a very important film in my life. But even among all the people I know in the film business - the directors and actors and New Yorkers - nobody saw it". See more »
During the ending credits when the producers' acknowledgments are given, it is misspelled as "ackowledge." See more »
At the centre of a sick psyche is a sick spirit.
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A large ensemble cast, written, filmed, and directed with quiet force....
This is one of those dark, serious, realistic personal dramas that critics shook their heads at in 1978. It wasn't because it wasn't good--it's frankly a brilliant combination of the big three: acting, writing, photography. It was because it was directed (and written) by Woody Allen. And Woody Allen is funny, right? Critics at the time, however, to their credit, gave the film a fair reading, and for three brilliant excerpt of period reviews, I recommend the Wikipedia entry on the movie.
So watch this film thinking it's by someone else, if you have to. take it in on its own subtle terms as three sisters watch their own deficiencies bloom when their parents abruptly separate. There is some familiar territory here, actors Allen has turned to many times (including Diane Keaton, of course, who he was once, in 1970, involved with). The world is one that might actually be parallel to his own, not Jewish New York but rather a highly educated literary set with money and ambitions, but deeply steeped in the arts.
In short, "Interiors" was and is appreciated but always with a feeling that it isn't quite complete, that it isn't what it could have been. It's easy to see that it is unremittingly dour, almost to perversion. And you might say that it plays the Bergman card too hard without overt appropriation (which makes it merely derivative, that worst of echoes). It is fair, I suppose, to say that Allen really has succeeded, but not in the remarkable ways he had succeeded so clearly in his earlier films, including his previous nugget, "Annie Hall," which is in my view his first true drama, but which has the benefit of also being funny.
Or you can just sit back and take it in for what it does do so well, letting the interior lives of these people seem as shattered and pathetic as they really seem. The photography by Gordon Willis is admirable for being beautiful and inventive without being distracting. Allen and Willis make clear this intention with opening shots, a series of fixed camera views of rooms, and then views out windows, all framed with classic proportions, but sequenced to pull you in. But look how often the camera follows two people as they walk and talk, either up close in front of them, or along the beach through an irregular snow fence. Its pace and "tastefulness" of the photography almost seems designed by one of the main characters, the troubled interior decorator mother played with uncanny effectiveness by Geraldine Page.
Expect nothing in particular here except a tour-de-force that works on its own depressing terms.
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