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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Interiors (1978)

After 30 years of marriage, a lawyer (E.G. Marshall) announces that he wants a separation from his wife (Geraldine Page in an Oscar nominated performance), a fragile perfectionist. While he moves on with his life, she begins unraveling and becomes suicidal. Woody Allen's first dramatic feature film, perhaps his most formal film, is often (and not unfairly) referred to as faux Bergman. If asked what's Allen's best film of the 1970s, most likely people would respond with ANNIE HALL or MANHATTAN, but I would select INTERIORS. It's less perfect than the other two and hardly flawless but Allen manages to infiltrate the Bergmanesque mystique without imitating him. Allen's dialogue can often comes across as self conscious and stilted but the actors, save one, are able to master it. Diane Keaton as the eldest daughter however is defeated. Alone among the cast, her line readings sound artificial but considering the borderline pretentiousness of her character, perhaps it's an acceptable trait. To be fair, the dialogue in Ingmar Bergman's films also read as self conscious but it sounds better spoken in Swedish rather than English. With Maureen Stapleton as Marshall's new wife (one can see why after years with the wound up Page, the "vulgarian" would be a breath of fresh air), Sam Waterston, Richard Jordan, Kristin Griffith and Marybeth Hurt.

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