|Directed by||Woody Allen|
|Written by||Woody Allen|
|Produced by||Charles H. Joffe|
|Edited by||Ralph Rosenblum|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$10.4 million|
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.
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.
Interiors grossed $10.4 million in the United States and Canada.
On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 80%, based on reviews from 15 critics, with an average score of 6.8/10. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67, based on reviews from 9 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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...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."
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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?'
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.
- "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now" (1932) - Written by Fats Waller & Andy Razaf - Performed by Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
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- Interiors at Rotten Tomatoes
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- Siskel, Gene (September 22, 1978). "Allen's 'Interiors': A touch of Bergman plus fine acting". Chicago Tribune. Section 4, p. 3.
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- Gilliatt, Penelope (August 7, 1978). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. p. 78.
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- Harvey, Adam (2007). The Soundtracks of Woody Allen. US: Macfarland & Company,Inc. p. 74. ISBN 9780786429684.
- "Death Cab for Cutie – Death of an Interior Decorator". genius.com. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.