Everyone is gathering at Lane's place for the weekend, and everyone's in love. Unfortunately, each beloved loves somebody else, and no one seems to realize it. Written by
Mia Farrow plays suicidal Lane, a child-like woman hoping to sell off the family cottage in Vermont so she can start life anew in New York City; she's surrounded for the weekend by her married friend (Dianne Wiest), a charming, struggling writer (Sam Waterston), an elderly neighbor who harbors a crush on Lane (Denholm Elliott), and Lane's demonstrative mama (Elaine Stritch) and her latest husband (Jack Warden). Seems mother and daughter were once the subjects of a scandalous murder-trial from years ago (shades of Lana Turner and daughter Cheryl), and Lane's emotional showdown with her mother provides an intense acting moment between Farrow and Stritch. Claustrophobic Woody Allen drama was one of the writer-director's biggest commercial and critical failures (he filmed it twice with two separate casts--this is the second version, the original remains unseen). It's a nearly-humorless study of the dangers of repression, yet the picture doesn't learn from itself--the handling is repressed as well--and few of these characters seem improved by the finale. Allen's languid pacing nearly comes to a halt during an electrical storm (at just 85 minutes, "September" doesn't exactly utilize its time wisely); however, this group of privately-tortured souls is as fascinating as the family in Allen's "Interiors." In fact, of the two films, this may be the better effort. *** from ****
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