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Theatrical release poster
Directed byWoody Allen
Written byWoody Allen
Produced byCharles H. Joffe
CinematographyGordon Willis
Edited byRalph Rosenblum
Jack Rollins–Charles H. Joffe Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • August 2, 1978 (1978-08-02) (United States)[1]
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.1 million[2][3]
Box office$10.4 million[1]

Interiors is a 1978 American drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. It stars Kristin Griffith, Mary Beth Hurt, Richard Jordan, Diane Keaton, E. G. Marshall, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton, and Sam Waterston.

Allen's first full-fledged film in the drama genre, it was met with acclaim from critics. It received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (both for Allen), Best Actress (Page), and Best Supporting Actress (Stapleton). Page also won the BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.[4]


Arthur, a corporate attorney, and Eve, an interior decorator, are the parents of three adult daughters. Renata, the eldest daughter, is a poet whose husband Frederick, a struggling writer, feels eclipsed by her success. Flyn, the youngest daughter, is an actress who is away most of the time filming; the low quality of her films is an object of ridicule behind her back. The middle daughter, Joey, who is in a relationship with Mike, cannot settle on a career, and resents her mother for favoring Renata, while Renata resents their father's concern over Joey's lack of direction.

One morning, Arthur unexpectedly announces that he wants a separation from his wife and would like to live alone. Eve, who is clinically depressed, attempts suicide in her new Manhattan apartment. The shock of these two events causes a rift among the sisters. Arthur returns from a trip to Greece with Pearl, a high-spirited and more "normal" woman, whom he intends to marry. His daughters are disturbed that Arthur would disregard Eve's suicide attempt and find another woman, to whom Joey refers as a "vulgarian".

Arthur and Pearl marry at the family's Long Island beach house, with Renata, Joey, and Flyn in attendance. Later in the evening, Joey lashes out at Pearl when Pearl accidentally breaks one of Eve's vases. In the middle of the night, Frederick drunkenly attempts to rape Flyn in the garage, but she manages to escape. Meanwhile, Joey finds Eve in the house, and sadly explains how much she has given up for her mother, and how disdainfully she is treated. Eve walks out onto the beach and into the surf. Joey unsuccessfully attempts to save Eve, but nearly drowns in the process. Mike rescues Joey, pulling her to shore, so that Pearl revives the drowned victim by tilting Joey's head back and pinching her nose to administer a cycle of two breaths.

The family attends Eve's funeral, each placing a single white rose, Eve's favorite flower and a symbol of hope to her, on Eve's wooden coffin, after which the three sisters look out at the sea from their former family beach house and comment on the peacefulness of the sea.



Box office[edit]

Interiors grossed $10.4 million in the United States and Canada.[1]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78% based 18 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10.[5] weighted average, assigned the film a score of 67 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[6]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times called the film "beautiful" and complimented Gordon Willis on his "use of cool colors that suggest civilization's precarious control of natural forces", but noted:[7]

My problem with Interiors is that although I admire the performances and isolated moments ... I haven't any real idea what the film is up to. It's almost as if Mr. Allen had set out to make someone else's movie, say a film in the manner of Mr. Bergman, without having any grasp of the material, or first-hand, gut feelings about the characters. They seem like other people's characters, known only through other people's art.

Richard Schickel of Time wrote that the film's "desperate sobriety ... robs it of energy and passion"; Allen's "style is Bergmanesque, but his material is Mankiewiczian, and the discontinuity is fatal. Doubtless this was a necessary movie for Allen, but it is both unnecessary and a minor embarrassment for his well-wishers."[8]

Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and praised it highly, writing, "Here we have a Woody Allen film, and we're talking about O'Neill and Bergman and traditions and influences? Yes, and correctly. Allen, whose comedies have been among the cheerful tonics of recent years, is astonishingly assured in his first drama."[9]

Gene Siskel awarded three stars out of four and wrote:

I thought the unremitting pain of the first half of the film was almost laughable, as if Allen had made a bad Bergman film. I thoroughly enjoyed the second half, in which the film's only bright, lively character (Maureen Stapleton as the father's new, romantic interest) makes her entrance. At the end, I left the theater thinking that the picture was painful and didn't have much applicability to my life, but that I would always remember its characters more for the superb acting than for Allen's script.[10]

Charles Champlin called the film "somber, intense and stunning", concluding, "Like Cries and Whispers, Allen's Interiors is, for all the somberness of the material, in the end an affirmation of life and a transcendent piece of art. The film lovers will love it if joke-seekers do not.[11]

Penelope Gilliatt of The New Yorker wrote: "This droll piece of work is [Allen's] most majestic so far. The theme its characters express is very Chekhovian. It is pinned to the idea that the hardest, and most admirable thing to do is to act properly through a whole life."[12]

James Monaco, in his 1979 book American Film Now, described Interiors as "the most pretentious film by a major American filmmaker in the last thirty years" alongside Mickey One (1965).[13]

In 2016, Interiors was listed as Allen's 11th best film in an article by The Daily Telegraph critics Robbie Collin and Tim Robey, who wrote that "the emotional effort being expended is cumulatively hard to shrug off" and praised Stapleton's performance.[14]

Woody Allen's response[edit]

Allen's own fears about the film's reception are recounted in a 1991 biography of Allen by Eric Lax, where he quotes Ralph Rosenblum, the film's editor:[15]

He [Allen] managed to rescue Interiors, much to his credit. He was against the wall. I think he was afraid. He was testy, he was slightly short-tempered. He was fearful. He thought he had a real bomb. But he managed to pull it out with his own work. The day the reviews came out, he said to me, 'Well, we pulled this one out by the short hairs, didn't we?'

Later, while watching the film with an acquaintance, Allen reportedly said, "It's always been my fear. I think I'm writing Long Day's Journey into Night and it turns into Edge of Night."[15]

Looking back on the film in 1982, Allen said:

I should have brought Pearl, Maureen Stapleton's character, in earlier. I thought the audience would be entertained before the nub of conflict emerged. I thought that it was entertaining enough before Pearl entered, but it wasn't. It should have been. I should have started it with Pearl coming in right away and the whole thing would have flowered right from the start.[16]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards Best Director Woody Allen Nominated
Best Actress Geraldine Page Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Maureen Stapleton Nominated
Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Woody Allen Nominated
Best Art Direction Mel Bourne and Daniel Robert Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role Geraldine Page Won
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles Mary Beth Hurt Nominated
Fotogramas de Plata Best Foreign Movie Performer Diane Keaton (also for Looking for Mr. Goodbar) Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Geraldine Page Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Maureen Stapleton Nominated
Best Director – Motion Picture Woody Allen Nominated
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Nominated
Jupiter Awards Best International Actress Diane Keaton Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Won
Best Director Woody Allen Won
Best Actress Geraldine Page Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Director Woody Allen Runner-up
Best Supporting Actress Geraldine Page Nominated
Maureen Stapleton Won[a]
Best Screenplay Woody Allen Runner-up
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films 3rd Place
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actress Maureen Stapleton Runner-up
Best Screenplay Woody Allen 5th Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Maureen Stapleton Won
Sant Jordi Awards Best Foreign Film Woody Allen Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen Nominated


Popular culture[edit]

The plot and characters of Interiors are alluded to in the Death Cab for Cutie song "Death of an Interior Decorator", taken from the 2003 album Transatlanticism.[18]


  1. ^ Tied with Mona Washbourne for Stevie


  1. ^ a b c "Interiors (1978)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on May 16, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  2. ^ Interiors at the American Film Institute Catalog
  3. ^ "Allen's 'Interiors' Sets House Record In Coast Playdate". Variety. September 6, 1978. p. 3. ISSN 0042-2738.
  4. ^ "Interiors: Awards". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2012. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Interiors". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  6. ^ "Interiors Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  7. ^ Canby, Vincent (August 6, 1978). "Screen: 'Interiors,' a Departure for Woody Allen". The New York Times. p. D1. Archived from the original on December 5, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Schickel, Richard (August 1978). "Cinema: Darkest Woody". Time. Archived from the original on October 13, 2019. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 2, 1978). "Interiors – Movie Review & Film Summary (1978)". The Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 13, 2019. Retrieved October 13, 2019 – via
  10. ^ Siskel, Gene (September 22, 1978). "Allen's 'Interiors': A touch of Bergman plus fine acting". Chicago Tribune. Section 4, p. 3. ISSN 1085-6706.
  11. ^ Champlin, Charles (August 27, 1978). "Woody Allen Drops the Mask". Los Angeles Times. Calendar, pp. 1, 32. ISSN 0458-3035.
  12. ^ Gilliatt, Penelope (August 7, 1978). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. p. 78. ISSN 0028-792X.
  13. ^ Monaco, James (1979). American Film Now: The People, the Power, the Money, the Movies. New York: Plume. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-1950-2570-5.
  14. ^ Collin, Robbie; Robey, Tim (October 12, 2016). "All 47 Woody Allen movies – ranked from worst to best". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on January 18, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Lax, Eric (1991). Woody Allen: A Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 335. ISBN 978-0-3945-8349-5.
  16. ^ Arnold, Gary (July 16, 1982). "Woody Allen, Inside and Out". The Washington Post. pp. C1–2. ISSN 0190-8286.
  17. ^ Harvey, Adam (2007). The Soundtracks of Woody Allen: A Complete Guide to the Songs and Music in Every Film, 1969–2005. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-7864-2968-4.
  18. ^ "Death Cab for Cutie – Death of an Interior Decorator". Genius. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.

External links[edit]