There’s no mistake in saying that I am a huge fan of Woody Allen. 1977’s Annie Hall is one my favorite films of all time. In addition to his monumental Annie Hall, I have been stunned by Woody Allen’s ability to capture moments of humor, pathos, and intelligence in nearly all of his films- including such standouts as Hannah & Her Sisters, Husbands and Wives, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. When embarking on Allen’s 1978 film Interiors, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. This film showed a darker, more somber side to Woody Allen. And, I have to admit, I really liked what I saw.
Interiors tells the story of a 60-something husband and wife who are headed on a collision course for divorce. Arthur (played by EG Marshall) is discontent in his life and he’s feeling ready to move on from his wife, Eve (played brilliantly by Geraldine Page). In the mix of this messy family situation are the couple’s three grown daughters (Diane Keaton, Mary Beth Hurt, and Kristin Griffith). These three women are strong, yet feel powerless to help their mother through this family crisis. As the family sinks further into the abyss of despair, all they can do is stare of out windows from the interiors of their own worlds. Interiors is about feeling closed off from one another- whether its the rejection from an unsympathetic spouse or the paralysis of one’s artistic voice. Filmed in bleak, washed-out shades of gray, the only color (and happiness) in the film comes in the form of Maureen Stapleton, nominee, (190) who plays Pearl, Arthur’s new love interest. Pearl represents everything that Eve is not- fun, sexy, and emotionally-grounded. Pearl brings a vibrance to Arthur’s life and it excites him- while simultaneously turning each of the daughters’ lives upside down. Interestingly enough, the only music in the entire film is heard at Arthur and Pearl’s wedding reception. Even a happy occasion such as this doesn’t fail to cause trauma amongst the family. This is a beautifully realized film- both in it’s photography and in it’s riveting acting. Stapleton was marvelous in the role of Pearl. This was Stapleton’s 3rd Academy Award nomination. She wouldn’t strike Oscar gold until 3 years later for her supporting work in Reds.
Interiors is a poignant, yet heartbreaking look at a family on the verge of collapse. I admired Woody Allen’s divergence into this new dramatic territory. It’s a film of great strength and it deserved every one of it’s 5 Oscar nominations.