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 film in the drama genre.
The film's story concerns three sisters (Griffith, Hurt, Keaton), their suicidal
mother (Page), their father (Marshall), their father's new wife (Stapleton), and the men in their lives (Jordan and Waterston).
The visual and verbal styles of the film are similar to that of Ingmar Bergman. In particular, it is considered to be a homage to Bergman's film, Cries and Whispers, which is also about three sisters.
Allen's own fears about the film's reception are recounted in a biography of Allen by Eric Lax
(2nd edition: ISBN 0306809850), where he quotes Ralph Rosenblum
, the film's editor
- 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."
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.
Nearly 30 years after the film was released, essayist David Rakoff commented on the film in an article for Nextbook's online magazine of Jewish culture. He called it pretentious, with a "narcotized affect ... as chilly as an Alex Katz painting, with a similar goyische naches anti-Semitic-by-omission Easthampton Waspiness obtaining to it all.
Interiors grossed $10.43 million in the United States.
The song "Death of an Interior Decorator
" by Death Cab For Cutie
is based on the plot of Interiors.
References and footnotes