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Interiors moviep.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWoody Allen
Written byWoody Allen
Produced byCharles H. Joffe
CinematographyGordon Willis
Edited byRalph Rosenblum
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • August 2, 1978 (1978-08-02)[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 fully-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]


The film centers on the three children of Arthur (E. G. Marshall), a corporate attorney, and Eve (Geraldine Page), an interior decorator. Renata (Diane Keaton) is a poet whose husband Frederick (Richard Jordan), a struggling writer, feels eclipsed by her success. Flyn (Kristin Griffith) 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. Joey (Mary Beth Hurt), who is in a relationship with Mike (Sam Waterston), 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. The shock of these two events causes a rift among the sisters. Arthur returns from a trip to Greece with Pearl (Maureen Stapleton), 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 Arthur and Eve's former summer home, 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. 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 attempts unsuccessfully to save Eve, but almost drowns in the attempt. 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 film ends with the family silently attending Eve's funeral, each placing a single white rose, Eve's favorite flower and a symbol of hope to her, on Eve's wooden, perfectly polished coffin, after which all three sisters look out at the sea from their former family beachfront home and comment on how 'peaceful' the sea looks.



Box office[edit]

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

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 80%, based on reviews from 15 critics, with an average score of 6.8/10.[5] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67, based on reviews from 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 published book American Film Now, described Interiors as the most pretentious film by a major American filmmaker in the last 30 years.[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 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 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" (from Transatlanticism (2003)).[18]


  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.
  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 at Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ "Interiors". Metacritic. Archived from the original on December 31, 2020. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  7. ^ Canby, Vincent (August 6, 1978). "Woody Allen: Risking It Without Laughs". The New York Times. p. D1. Archived from the original on December 5, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Schickel, Richard (August 1978). "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.
  11. ^ Champlin, Charles (August 27, 1978). "Woody Allen Drops the Mask". Los Angeles Times. Calendar, pp. 1, 32.
  12. ^ Gilliatt, Penelope (August 7, 1978). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. p. 78.
  13. ^ Monaco, James (1979). American Film Now. p. 264.
  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. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 335. ISBN 0-394-58349-3.
  16. ^ Arnold, Gary (July 16, 1982). "Woody Allen, Inside and Out". The Washington Post. pp. C1–2.
  17. ^ Harvey, Adam (2007). The Soundtracks of Woody Allen. US: Macfarland & Company,Inc. p. 74. ISBN 9780786429684.
  18. ^ "Death Cab for Cutie – Death of an Interior Decorator". Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  1. ^ Tied with Mona Washbourne for Stevie.

External links[edit]