Review: INTERIORS (1978)

By Darin Skaggs

In between what are considered Woody Allen’s masterpieces, those being Annie Hall and Manhattan, Allen made Interiors. This is one that you do not hear being brought up much when talking about his career and that makes this film extremely underrated. Maybe the reason no one seems to remember this one is because it is missing the one aspect people always give praise to in Allen’s films, humor. It is not that the jokes do not work in the film, they are simply not there. This is a film so serious, maybe even too serious at times, that it just does not feel like a Woody Allen directed film.

It tells the story of a family that is slowly being torn apart. It all starts with Arthur (E.G. Marshall) and Eve (Geraldine Page) who have been married for many years. At a dinner with their three fully grown daughters, Renata (Diane Keaton), Flyn (Kristen Griffith) and Joey (Mary Beth Hurt), Arthur announces that he would like a break from the marriage. This takes its toll on the already fragile Eve, which causes her three daughters to re-examine their own lives that brings plenty of amounts of drama to the entire extended family.

Like any Allen film the acting is wonderful. Page is fantastic as a mentally ill and emotionally devastated woman. As well as the three daughters caring for their mom and rethinking everything they stand for. Keaton, an Allen all-star, of course does well and so does Griffith, but the real star of the whole film is the youngest of the group Mary Beth Hurt. Joey is in the most emotional pain, next to her mother, and Hurt plays that so well, she tries to hide her pain but just cannot. The whole look of the film is also fantastic. Sometimes it is way too realistic to handle and the dark lighting really blends well with the dark tones of Allen’s script.

After almost a decade of making Marx Brothers type comedies, even his Best Picture winning film Annie Hall had plenty of Marx Brother type humor scattered through it, you cannot help but wonder why Allen got so serious. Most comedic artist seems to have a phase of needing to be taken very serious and make somber pieces to prove it to the public. Luckily, Interiors works as a domestic drama and even though later Allen would find a comfy place between drama and humor it is nice to see what his all in drama looks like.

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