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I honestly don't know why this film has been so critically destroyed. It was very well done and it is very culturally relevant. It also utilizes an all-star cast, but Woody doesn't emphasize on the star power.
Kenneth Branagh and Judy Davis play Lee and Robin Simon, a divorced New York couple heading in separate directions after his mid-life crisis divorce. The film then explores and critiques their adventures and lives after.
Lee divorced Robin because he had married too soon and wanted to explore what was out in the world. A travel writer, he tries to insert himself in the inner circles and this is expressed through clever and witty anecdotes. He tries to seduce an actress he's interviewing, Nicole Oliver (Melanie Griffith), only to be rejected because she is married. Then he almost gets his chance to have all of his sexual fantasies fulfilled by a Supermodel (in an erotically charged performance by Charlize Theron) only to crash his car and watch her walk away. Lee commits to Bonnie, his elegant editor girlfriend (in a charged performance by the reliable Famke Janssen) only to dump her for rising starlet Nola (a typically neurotic performance by Winona Ryder). Lee also has a wild time with the hotel-trashing, druggie actor Brandon Darrow (in a funny performance by Leonardo DiCaprio)and his wild entourage. He ends up alone however, although he had experienced what he wanted to.
Robin meanwhile, nearly suffers a breakdown after the divorce and stays at a Catholic retreat with her friend. She tries to make herself over at a prestigious plastic surgeon only to get a date with charming, Tony Gardella, a news reporter. Joe Mantegna plays the supposed perfect person for Robin with grace. After an uncomfortable encounter at a movie premiere with Lee, Robin indulges herself into Tony's world. She gets her own TV series, a trashy talk show. In a quirky scene she tries to get help on fellatio from a neurotic hooker (in a too-brief performance by Bebe Neuwirth). She is about to get married to Tony, when she instead runs off, unable to bear how perfect it all is. After help from a psychic, she tries to find him.
As the story winds down, Robin becomes a gossip talk show host, mingling with celebrities and married to Tony. She's also pregnant. Lee is alone, having dumped Bonnie for Nola and having watched his novel float away. His relationship with the neurotic mess Nola also dies out. Their meeting is bittersweet as is the ending as they watch the movie that is being filmed when the movie started.
The film has a plethora of short but sweet performances. Dylan Baker plays a charming priest who befriends Robin at her retreat. Isaac Mizrahi plays a trendy artist, a friend of the Supermodel's. Anthony Mason plays himself as a suitor of the Supermodel's at a nightclub. Michael Lerner plays the prestigious Dr. Lerner while Debra Messing plays the quirky reporter doing a story on him. Larry Pine, a Woody Allen regular plays an editor. Gretchen Mol has a minor role as Vicky, Brandon's companion in a thoroughly funny scene. Hank Azaria plays David, Nola's boyfriend in a scene set at Elaine's. Allison Janney plays a real estate agent that is interviewed by Lee while Donald Trump plays himself in an amusing cameo. Aida Turturro and Tony Sirico both have small roles. Aida plays a psychic Robin visits while Tony plays a Mafiosi guest on Robin's talk show. Jeffery Wright also has a small role in the last segment of the film as Nola's pretentious director in a play.
The film for the most part is quirky, funny and not as perverse as say Deconstructing Harry. The only complaint that I can make is that while Woody Allen satirizes the current celebrity society, he goes for the easy targets when possible. He is refreshingly self-referential and in a nice surprise, he references the New York art scene, the models and movies of New York, along with cultural references to current celebrities and references to people like Andy Warhol. The soundtrack is elegant and sophisticated. Despite my small complaints, the movie is refreshing and at times hilarious. A well-done picture.
An Underrated Masterpiece
Interiors is a fragile, dry and masterful portrait of the anguish and pain that goes through a family. Although highly criticized, when looked at within itself, the movie is absolutely brilliant. Geraldine Page was so poised and precise in her role as Eve. How she didn't win an Oscar for the scene in which she uses her organizational skills to attempt suicide is a shock within itself. Diane Keaton gave a perfectly nuanced performance as Renata. The contrasting personalities of the characters is used to create some of the most perfectly staged scenes in any Woody Allen film. Maureen Stapleton gave the intended out-of-place feel to her character, Pearl. The title itself notes the different internal crises within each character. Subtle references into the inner pains that elaborate until the pain becomes searing to even the viewer. The cinematography is brilliant as Gordon Willis creates a cold, isolated New York, full of literature, criticism, bleak skies and icy cold days. The significance Eve places on perfection within each of her daughter's apartments is really her attempt at achieving happiness within her family. E.G. Marshall's performance as the maritally restrained Arthur was heartbreaking, he was so controlled by Eve, that his pain become nonexistent until he felt free of obligations. As these characters reflect onto themselves, they allow the pain to free itself. The several layers he places onto each character and plot merge to become a collaboration of time, place and emotion. The only weakness of the film is that it was made in 1978, an homage to Ingmar Bergman, that, made when Bergman was still working almost became an imitation.