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Interiors is the first of the straight-dramas from acclaimed filmmaker Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, To Rome With Love). Though Allen is more known for comedies and dramas with strong comedic undertones this film marked the first effort that was a serious drama which departed from his comedic roots. It is executive produced by Robert Greenhut (Annie Hall, Big) and it is produced by Charles H. Joffe (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Match Point) and Jack Rollins (Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine).
The story revolves around a family and it's daughters as they deals with surprising events after their father Arthur (E.G. Marshall) starts to divorce their mother Eve (Geraldine Page). Eve is a perfectionist who has worked as both an attorney and as a interior decorator (she loves vases and considers their placement of great importance). She starts to suffer from a breakdown following the divorce. Arthur starts to see Pearl (Maureen Stapleton), a woman that is in most respects the opposite of Eve. Each of the daughters has to deal with their parents' divorce proceedings in their own way.
Renata (Diane Keaton), the oldest of the three daughters, is a successful poet who is renowned for her writing. Joey (Mary Beth Hurt) is the middle-child. She moves between several different careers as she has worked as an actor, as a photographer, and as someone who has takes on other "temporary" endeavors. She is struggling to find a way to be an artist but she doesn't know what to say with her art. She moves between jobs as she has no clear idea what she wants other than a need to be an artist. Flyn (Kristin Griffith), the youngest of the daughters, is a television star who feels her success has been because of her looks and nothing more. Flyn seeks more out of her life and isn't happy with the course of her career.
Then there are the men in the women's lives: Frederick (Richard Jordon), is a novelist who isn't well known and has little acclaim. He is married to Renata. Her success as a poet makes him a jealous husband as he isn't able to find similar success. Joey is married to the mild mannered Mike (Sam Waterston). Flyn isn't seeing anyone but begins a flirtation with Frederick.
The performances by the cast are impressive. Each actor delivers a unique performance that aids the film's strong ensemble effort. Diane Keaton is especially impressive with a fantastic and emotionally layered performance. Mary Beth Hurt electrifies with her unique performance. Kristin Griffith delivers a rewarding performance as well.
The production design by Mel Bourne (Manhattan, The Fisher King) impresses with quality set designs and production aesthetics. The cinematography by Gordon Willis (The Godfather, The Godfather: Part 2, Annie Hall) is different from his usual work (which helped him to be known as the "prince of darkness" amongst Hollywood). Interiors isn't as dark as his signature style but it's beautifully shot and it has great outdoor lighting: a worthy effort from the cinematographer. The costumes designed by Joel Schumacher (costume designer of Allen's Sleeper and director of Batman and Robin) work well for these characters.
Written and directed by Woody Allen (Hannah and Her Sisters, Annie Hall, Broadway Danny Rose, The Purple Rose of Cairo), Interiors is Allen's attempt at making a "serious picture." It focuses on dramatic storytelling and only occasionally relies on using a comedic tone. This notably is one of Allen's only films in his entire career to not emphasis comedy.
The entire story is told in the style of Ingmar Bergman. The film is in part a tribute to the work of the legendary filmmaker (who Allen cites as a primary influence on his work). Yet the film also represents Allen trying his hand at a serious drama for the first time. Allen brings forth exceptional performances from the cast and proves himself a capable dramatist.
Interiors is a film all about the struggles of artists and about the questions that surround the human experience. The film's primary characters are largely artistic (or want to be) and each struggle to understand their place in the world as well as how their art may play a role (if any). While the film offers few answers, Allen has crafted a thoughtful film which will leave viewers with much to ponder.
Interiors arrives on Blu-ray from Twilight Time with a quality 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in the original 1.85:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio. The film looks naturally filmic with fine film grain left intact. Details are solid throughout the presentation. This is a pleasing, high bit-rate encoding which preserves the cinematography by Gordon Willis.
The film is presented in English 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mono audio. This is a quality lossless audio presentation which preserves the original sound design of the film. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The selection of jazz music featured throughout the film sounds nice as well.
Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing).
Booklet featuring an essay by Twilight Time's Julie Kirgo.
Interiors is a film that surprised many of Woody Allen's biggest fans when it was first released. It's not hard to see why. It's one of his most serious dramas and there isn't much comedy in the film at all. However, it's a strong effort in Allen's filmography with great performances by a strong ensemble cast. It's a story about art and the human condition. It's a thoughtful and introspective work from one of cinema's great directors and it should not be overlooked.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.