|Directed by||Woody Allen|
|Produced by||Charles H. Joffe|
|Written by||Woody Allen|
Mary Beth Hurt
E. G. Marshall
|Edited by||Ralph Rosenblum|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Interiors is a 1978 drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. Featured performers are Kristin Griffith, Mary Beth Hurt, Richard Jordan, Diane Keaton, E. G. Marshall, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton and Sam Waterston.
Page received a BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. The film received four other Oscar nominations, two for Allen's screenplay and direction, one for Stapleton as Best Actress in a Supporting Role and another for Mel Bourne and Daniel Robert for their art direction and set decoration. It is Allen's first full-fledged film in the drama genre.
The film centers around the three children of Arthur (E. G. Marshall), a corporate attorney, and Eve (Geraldine Page), an interior decorator. There is the oldest, Renata (Diane Keaton), a poet whose husband Frederick, a struggling writer, feels eclipsed by her success. Flyn (Kristin Griffith), a vain actress who is away most of the time filming; the low quality of her films is an object of ridicule behind her back and the youngest, Joey (Mary Beth Hurt) who cannot settle on a career, and resents her mother for favoring Renata. She is also in a relationship with Mike (Sam Waterston), who Eve dislikes. The film also goes in and out of the past and present.
Eve goes over to Mike and Joey's apartment since she has been helping them decorate. Mike and her bicker about the placement of lamps, money and her indecisiveness towards to decor. She brings a vase for the foyer and throughout the film, vases seem to be Eve's signature. Joey snaps at Mike to not bicker with her mother as she is a very 'sick' woman. Joey and her discuss her 'comeback' and her mental health. Eve asks Joey if she thinks her father would consider a reconciliation since she is now doing so well. Joey isn't sure and Eve accuses her of being negative. Joey, frustrated, ends up telling her mother to talk to Renata then, as she is her favorite of the three.
We then see Renata in therapy talking about her mother and the effects of her breakdown on the family. She says that Eve received shock therapy and was almost like a stranger when she returned from treatment. She also discusses her jealousy of her father's favoritism towards Joey and explains the events that caused her mother's breakdown. One morning while having breakfast at their beach home, Arthur unexpectedly announces that he wants a separation from his wife and would like to live alone as the girls are grown and he feels he has done his duties as a father and husband. Eve, who is clinically depressed and mentally unstable, doesn't take the news very well and says that she can't be alone as she isn't well. Renata then goes on to explain that she hasn't been able to write since the previous winter and how 'increasing thoughts about death' plague her and her ideas of purpose and existence.
Later, Joey talks to Mike about how Renata gives her mother false hope about a reconciliation. She also tells Mike that she wants to quit her current job, much to Mike's dismay. Joey expresses her frustrations with her interests, like acting, photography, writing, etc. and her lack of consistency with her career choices.
Renata is shopping for her mother's birthday with Frederick and she tells him that Flynn will be in town her their mother's birthday. Renata tells him not to talk down to her while he is there and he compares Flyn to his last book saying, 'she is the perfect example of form but with no content.' While at their mother's new apartment in the city, Flyn compliments her mother on how well she looks. Frederick and Joey also comment on how sexy Flyn has become. Eve asks if Flyn has spoken to her father and says that he visits her now and then. Upset, Eve starts to cry and tells Flyn that she has nothing to live for anymore. Renata and Flyn reassure her that things will work out, while Joey berates Renata for filling her with false hope.
While opening gifts and having wine together, Renata talks about Frederick's new book and her view on it. Obviously jealous of her success and self-conscious of his minor capabilities to his successful wife, he bashes on himself in front of everyone and accuses Renata of not liking his book at all. Joey tells Renata that she has to leave and compliments her on a poem of hers that she read in the New Yorker. Flyn and Frederick discuss her new movie being filmed in the Rocky Mountains as Frederick is seemingly taken with her. Eve receives a delivery of white roses, her favorite, from Arthur and she says that this is a good sign.
Renata and Frederick are arguing over a review he received as she is getting ready to go out with other poet friends. Flustered with him, Renata reminds him that she has been nothing but understanding and encouraging. He tells her not to patronize him and that she wouldn't understand as critics encourage and praise her work. He continues to belittle himself and says the he doesn't want to wait 25 years to be appreciated as a writer, he wants success now. Renata tells him that she has her own problems and is tired of his competitiveness. She then brings up his drinking, reminding him that he is now fitting every stereotype for a novelist and that she is the one keeping everything together for their family. She tries to resolve the argument and says that she only means well, but he has to stop the pity party.
Arthur is visiting Eve at her new apartment and compliments her on how well she looks. They talk about Eve's dislike of Mike for Joey and Arthur mentions that she has no direction. He kisses her on the head and says that they'll talk as he leaves. Distraught by her loneliness and incapability to get her husband back, Eve tapes all the doors and windows shut and turns on the gas from the oven. She quietly sits on her couch and waits. An ambulance takes her to the hospital as Arthur tells Renata that Eve must go back to the hospital for treatment. Renata agrees and says she feels horrible for Joey as she takes it the hardest and spends the most time with Eve. Arthur talks about how lost Joey is and asks Renata to help her. Renata then tells her father that he shouldn't be obsessed with Joey while Eve is laying in a hospital bed. The shock of this event causes a rift between the sisters.
Renata, Joey and Eve go on a walk together while Joey attempts to make plans for dinner with Renata and Frederick. After Renata says she must give Frederick some time to adjust to his new teaching job and focus on writing, Joey accuses her of pushing her away. She then tells her the while she is busy away writing and hiding out in Connecticut, she is busy with their mother. While trying to write, Renata experiences a panic attack and explains that it was brought on by her thoughts of mortality and her stress with her mother. Frederick calms her as they look through Joey's photos. They both agree that the photos are not very good and that Joey has all the characteristics of a creative and artistic person, but no talent. Frederick tells her to be honest with Joey about what she thinks and she tells him that she doesn't want to break her heart. They start to argue as the conversation turns back to his writing and Frederick asks what she is going to say to Joey. Renata says that Joey should just marry Mike and stop worrying about being creative.
Joey and Mike are meeting Eve and Joey tells Mike that she is pregnant. He tells her that they can take care of it, but that it also wouldn't be the end of the world if they had a baby. She tells him that it would ruin her life and she doesn't even know where her own life is going, let alone a child's. They both meet with eve to go over more decor for their apartment. Eve tells her that Arthur has returned from his trip to Greece and if she can talk to him for her. Joey rebuffs her saying that he is a grown man who can make his own decisions. They argue more as Joey leaves. Mike and her discuss their future in the cab ride home. He tells her to take the job at the advertising firm and that they should have the baby. She yells at him that she wants to actually do something with her life and not just have kids.
Joey, Frederick, Mike and Renata all get together to welcome Arthur back home. He returns with a woman named Pearl (Maureen Stapleton), a high-spirited and more "normal" woman, whom he intends to marry. Joey, Arthur and Renata argue over his choice to marry Pearl and are upset that he would disregard Eve's suicide attempt and find another woman, whom Joey refers to as a "vulgarian". He tells them that he deserves to be happy and he is too old to deal with their mother. Joey refuses to give her blessing and Renata is upset that her blessing isn't as important as Joey's is to her father.
Arthur and Eve meet at a church to look at the architecture and she asks him about his trip. He tells her that he would like to finalize the divorce and build new lives for them both. She accuses him of meeting someone else and he refuses to discuss the matter. Arthur tells her that he talked to her doctor about it and he said that she could handle this. Humiliated that her doctor and husband talked about her behind her back, Eve has a panic attack and knocks down the lit candles in the church.
At Arthur and Eve's former summer home, Renata, Joey and Flyn catch up before Arthur and Pearl marry. Joey has taken the job at the ad agency and Pearl offers them food. She mentions how pale the place is and talks about redecorating. Flyn and Renata walk on the beach and talk about youth and talent. Flyn tells Renata not to pump her up as something she is not. Renata presses on and reassures her that she is talented and beautiful, while Flyn tells her that Renata is actually the talent in the family.
Later in the evening before the wedding Arthur and Joey talk and she finally gives her blessing. Frederick and Flyn talk and he tells her that he doesn't like the person he is becoming. She laughs and tells him that she thinks he is a very impressive person. Pearl and Arthur marry and the group drinks and dances together. While dancing, Pearl accidentally breaks one of Eve's vases, in which Joey lashes out at her. Later that night, Flyn goes out to her car to do some coke when Frederick drunkenly attempts to rape her, telling her it has been such a long time since he made love to a woman he didn't feel inferior to.
Meanwhile, Joey finds Eve in the house, and somberly 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 attempts unsuccessfully to save Eve, but almost herself drowns in the attempt. She in turn is rescued by Mike and brought back to life by Pearl.
The film ends with the family silently attending Eve's funeral, each placing a single white rose, Eve's favourite flower and a symbol of hope to her, on Eve's wooden, perfectly polished coffin.
- Geraldine Page as Eve
- Diane Keaton as Renata
- Mary Beth Hurt as Joey
- Kristin Griffith as Flyn
- Richard Jordan as Frederick
- E. G. Marshall as Arthur
- Maureen Stapleton as Pearl
- Sam Waterston as Mike
Interiors grossed $10.43 million in the United States.
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:
- My problem with Interiors is that although I admire the performances and isolated moments, as well as the techniques and the sheer, headlong courage of this great, comic, film-making philosopher, 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."
On the other hand, Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and praised it highly, saying, "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."
Woody Allen's response
- 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?'
- Interiors from Box Office Mojo
- "NY Times: Interiors". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
- Interiors at Rotten Tomatoes
- August 1978 Review of Interiors by Vincent Canby for The New York Times
- Darkest Woody, an August 1978 review by Richard Schickel for Time magazine
-  Interiors, a review on August 2, 1978 by Roger Ebert
- Lax, Eric (1991). Woody Allen: A biography. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 335. ISBN 0-394-58349-3.