‘Interiors’ (1978)

Forgotten DVDs

         
 

05 August 2013| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

“I have nothing to live for anymore.” – Mom on her birthday

The first dead-serious Woody Allen film. Interiors (1978), influenced by the works of cerebral dramatist Ingmar Bergman, is the portrait of a family stunted in pretentiousness and over-intellectual mire. The central tragic figure is the mother Eve (Geraldine Page) who has spent a lifetime being a fastidious and meticulous homemaker. There is much refinement and yet lifelessness and sterility in the rooms she decorates. This has bored and alienated her husband Arthur (E.G. Marshall) who has asked for a trial separation. She is equally a burden to her three daughters . She loves her husband who has scorned her, and her alienated daughters, but she does not know how to love conventionally. She tries too hard fixing her childrens’ home designs and not enough time talking to them about their dreams and desires.

“Interiors” has many brilliant scenes of family dysfunction, acknowledging how WASPS can be more attuned to looks and presentation of materials than to human connection and keen sensitivity. But I no longer feel quite as strong about “Interiors” as I once did. The Diane Keaton and Richard Jordan marriage is overwrought, and Allen’s blocking of these two is quite maladroit. Angry and dissatisfied Swedish intellectuals unnaturally pacing back and forth, they seem, and less than true-blood Americans.

Mary Beth Hurt as the depressed and priggish daughter is the more interesting daughter, and she has an intelligent husband (Sam Waterston) who offers her advice on what to do for a living. Nothing makes her happy, though, as she searches for fault in her father, her mother, and her siblings, as well as mope about her own directionless life.

The third daughter is played by a narcissistic, coke-snorting Kristin Griffith who is an underwritten cliché. Her biggest act of abnormal behavior – in a film about uppity and abnormal behavior – is teasing one of her sister’s husbands into a seduction.

Interiors Geraldine Page Flick Minute UnderratedWe are foremost drawn, and devastated, by Page’s performance as the mother who only asks for “reconciliation.” This is a powerful performance of a woman whose own sense of perfection decomposes following her husband’s desertion of her. While she is a woman of high anxiety and incapable of normal calm and ease amongst loved ones, we still care for her as a human being who craves attachment to family.

Arthur says the separation is not irrevocable, but he certainly doesn’t hesitate to finalize the divorce when he meets a woman on a cruise ship (Maureen Stapleton). This isn’t a young tart he is in love with. Simply an older woman with vivacity and an unabashed embrace of life. With this blow, Eve’s purpose as a wife and mother has expired. In her mind.

“Interiors” is a hard sit, and is one of those more interesting to think about after it’s over than it is entertaining to watch. I will not return to it again for another twenty years, I don’t think, but I am certainly glad it exists because it was the first showcase of cerebral depth and dark drama for Woody Allen. In contrast, his current “Blue Jasmine,” I am sure now, is more humanly well-rounded and genuine, and therefore more impactful drama with this hindsight.

91 Minutes. Rated PG.

DARK DRAMA / EAST COAST TEENS / CEREBRAL WEEKEND VIEWING

Film Cousins: “The Passion of Anna” (1969, Sweden); “Cries and Whispers” (1973, Sweden); “A Separation” (2011, Iran); “Blue Jasmine” (2013).

Interiors Ad Poster (1978 Woody Allen)

Summary
Reviewer
Sean Chavel
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Interiors (1978)
Author Rating
4
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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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