Interiors - Reception

Reception

Allen's own fears about the film's reception are recounted in a biography of Allen by Eric Lax (2nd edition: ISBN 0-306-80985-0), where he quotes Ralph Rosenblum, the film's editor:

He managed to rescue Interiors, much to his credit. He was against the wall. I think he was afraid. He was testy, he was slightly short-tempered. He was fearful. He thought he had a real bomb. But he managed to pull it out with his own work. The day the reviews came out, he said to me, 'Well, we pulled this one out by the short hairs, didn't we?'

Later, while watching the film with an acquaintance, Allen reportedly said "It's always been my fear. I think I'm writing Long Day's Journey Into Night and it turns into Edge of Night."

Vincent Canby of The New York Times called the film "beautiful" and complimented Gordon Willis on his "use of cool colors that suggest civilization's precarious control of natural forces", but noted:

My problem with Interiors is that although I admire the performances and isolated moments, as well as the techniques and the sheer, headlong courage of this great, comic, film-making philosopher, I haven't any real idea what the film is up to. It's almost as if Mr. Allen had set out to make someone else's movie, say a film in the manner of Mr. Bergman, without having any grasp of the material, or first-hand, gut feelings about the characters. They seem like other people's characters, known only through other people's art.

Richard Schickel of Time wrote that the film's "desperate sobriety ... robs it of energy and passion"; Allen's "style is Bergmanesque, but his material is Mankiewiczian, and the discontinuity is fatal. Doubtless this was a necessary movie for Allen, but it is both unnecessary and a minor embarrassment for his well-wishers."

On the other hand, Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and praised it highly, saying, "Here we have a Woody Allen film, and we're talking about O'Neill and Bergman and traditions and influences? Yes, and correctly. Allen, whose comedies have been among the cheerful tonics of recent years, is astonishingly assured in his first drama."

Nearly 30 years after the film was released, essayist David Rakoff slammed the film in an article for Nextbook's online magazine of Jewish culture, calling it pretentious, with a "narcotized affect ... as chilly as an Alex Katz painting, with a similar goyische naches anti-Semitic-by-omission Easthampton Waspiness obtaining to it all."

Interiors grossed $10.43 million in the United States, and currently has a 77% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 6.8/10.

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