- Woody Allen’s seventh feature (I don’t count What’s Up, Tiger Lily?) and a major change in tone for him at this point in his career. It is his first film to have a very solemn tenor (going further than Annie Hall) and first not to feature him as an actor.
- Always look to the film after a giant masterpiece for an underrated work for a great auteur- this is a prime example (again directly after Annie Hall), Marie Antoinette from Sofia Coppola, One From the Heart is a good example as well after Apocalypse Now, certainly Ambersons, Juliet of the Spirits from Fellini—the initial reaction isn’t always a great barometer with such expectations. If Interiors had come before Annie Hall – my guess is it would easily be in the TSPDT top 1000
- The dual meaning of the title– Geraldine Page’s Eve (really the central character of the film) is quite literally obsessed with interiors. She’s an obsessive-compulsive interior designer. Plus, the inner angst and turmoil (not only of Page’s Eve) but the entire family
- five Oscar nominations, 92 minutes
- Allen drew on Eugene O’Neill, Chekhov (three sisters- Hannah and Her Sisters is three sisters as well- 1986), and Ingmar Bergman—the biggest influences here- but the opening silent montage of empty rooms (stunning) is Ozu– Charlie Kaufman does something similar in 2020’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things
- Apparently, the role of Eve was written for Ingrid Bergman—who could not play the role because she was working with Ingmar on Autumn Sonata (1978)
- Sublime costume (Joel Schumacher- yes, the eventual successful director- does the costume) and décor- the coffee mugs match Mary Beth Hurt’s character’s robe
- Smartly shot on the New York beach in winter, the season is so important to the film, no score
- The color design is consistent—tans/yellows/creams/sand
- Discontented people, frayed relationships—it is Woody after all so it is intellectual, highly referential, discussion of art, theater, walls of books in the décor
- Allen’s pen has been sharper in other films—but there are still very well written scenes like the fight between the two sisters (played by Marty Beth Hurt and Diane Keaton) and father (E.G. Marshall—of course from Twelve Angry Men) about his upcoming marriage
- Ennui- there’s Antonioni in the self-serious characters
- A Must-See film
I. Adore. This. Film. Of course, there are vastly different reactions towards it. I once read “Interiors is Woody Allen doing Ingmar Bergman. Or kill me now, as I like to say”, and I find it hilarious. Of course, tastes are tastes, but objectively, this is a wonderfully written, well directed, overall great film, regardless of them. The interior designs are appropriately bleak, cold, very formal. Pretty much like Page’s character, they make one feel alien and are perfectly reflective of her inner world. I believe the full strength of this as an effort can be sensed in the sheer power of some scenes – when Eve slowly, calmly but desperately walks towards the sea (the look on Page’s eyes – I will never cease to be awed by her work in this film), the opening and final shots. They definitely stay with the viewer long after the credits roll. The symmetry and care in creating the sets, static shots, and predominantly, the emptiness of it all, the absence of music and the fact that the film doesn’t shy away from silence and loneliness (after all, its entire point is to convey them) make for a very consistent and effective deeply dramatic Bergman-esque effort and create impeccable atmosphere. There is some great art here and I’m honestly surprised so few have noticed. Interiors is so perpetually underrated, unfortunately. Anyway. I completely agree with the Must-See rating. All of that said, I’m getting around to watching Ozu’s The End of Summer, after reading your 1961 page, and after taking a look at its plot and considering, as I said, the static shots and meticulous set designs, I feel like Interiors is essentially the American version of Ingmar Bergman directing Ozu’s the End of Summer. I guess one should interpret that as a compliment, more than anything.
Completely agreed … what an underrated masterpiece !!!
@Georg– very happy to hear we’re on the same page here with Interiors! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here