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Interiors (1978) – Lumping this one in with the rest of the forgotten, second tier Woody Allen movies goes against the critical grain.  It is an emotionally draining, purposefully sterile looking drama that was given a lot of kudos at the time of it’s release, with critics invoking names like Eugene O’Neill and Ingmar Bergman as sources of influence.  Allen’s first dramatic feature, and first of his films not to star himself, was nominated for six Academy Awards including one for direction.  Though the craft of Allen’s work behind the camera is still noteworthy, age hasn’t been kind to the characterizations or attitudes his characters exhibit.  And as cinematic time as marched on and carried the likes of Annie Hall and Manhattan with it, Interiors feels like a sullen cousin left out of the family photograph.  Everyone knows he’s there out of the frame, but most don’t seem to pay him much attention.  He’s a pain.

The variety of characters in Interiors are people either inflated with intellectual pretensions, emotionally selfish in the extreme, thoroughly unhappy for any number of different reasons or simply all of the above.  Some performances still work.  Diane Keaton, E.G. Marshall and Maureen Stapleton still stand out and it’s an honest attempt on Allen’s part to create an unflinching, uncompromising character piece.  Regardless of these strengths, don’t be surprised if you find yourself hating on it before it’s run its course.  When the uptight, judgmental daughter insults her new mother-in-law by calling her a vulgarian, the age of the effort, the detestable arrogance of its characters and the prickish attitudes they inhabit smack you right in the face.  It does help right itself by being affixed to a strong, thematically powerful ending.  Something Allen doesn’t always have the wear with all or know how to accomplish.

On a curious note, Allen would re-purpose a lot of this plot 25 years later for his terrible comedy You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger.


Next up – Stardust Memories


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