Psychoanalysis is not art. Psychotherapy, like a surgical operation, fascinates the patient but does not enthrall others. If only that could be accepted, a great amount of dreariness, some of it produced by otherwise interesting and imaginative artists, could be spared.
It takes such a profound misunderstandig to account for Woody Allen's having produced a boring film. Woody Allen! He whose versatile with and agile mind bounce out at us not only from so many different aspects of his films, but also from the black-and-white pages of The New Yorker. But "Interiors," for all the tremendous skill that Allen and may others put in it, is boring.
"I feel a real need to express something, but I don't know what it is I want to express or how to express it."
"It was like I was here and thw world was out there, and I couldn't bring us together."
"I want to do something with my life."
"It's time you thought of my needs."
"I don't like what I'm becoming."
"I'm not being treated seriously."
"I don't know why she makes me feel guilty."
These are just a few lines that fit in around the expression of thoughts or action: lines like this make up nearly the entire script. Two recurrent ones are "I don't want to talk about that" and "Let's not talk about that now - you're upset."
The story told in this way is about an interior decorator and here three daughters - a poet (she's the one who can't bring the world and herself together), an actress (the one who's not being taken seriously) and a sometime actress-photographer-writer (right - the one who doesn't know what to express or how to express it). All of them have all-beige wardrobes and live in all beige places without curtains, rugs, plants. After a while, the husband-father can't stand it and goes out and marries a woman in a red dress.
That's it, the framework on which the endless discussions about who feels a guilty and who feels unfulfilled are held, plus a few rousing arguments when one daughter bitterly says Mother loves another daughter more, and the other daughter says bitterly that Father loves that daughter more.
Along with the simplistic symbolism of the color scheme, there is a more unpleasant truism. "In your carefully designed interiors, everything was so controlled that there wasn't any room for an real feelings," one daughter tells the decorator-mother. Now, all the daughter's homes look the same. Clearly these neat, thin, biege - artistic and successful - women are threatening. One of the husbands comes out with it as he tries to rape his least intellectual sister-in-lawwith the come-on, "It's been a long time since I made love to a woman I didn't feel inferior to." And Daddy's new girl, who is fat, jolly, dumb and warm, goes around saving people's lives literally and figuratively and is, apparently, the feminine alternative.
If that is what Allen dug out of his soul in analysis, it would perhaps have been better not to spread it beyond him and his doctor.
Some of the fine performances that went into this venture are Geraldine Page's as the mother, Maureen Stapleton's, as the second wife; E.G. Marshall's, as the father, and those of Diane Keaton and Marybeth Hurst as two of the daughters.
And Allen's directing is better, in this case, than his screen writing. The film, for what it is, is beautifully done. And this is not to say that Woody Allen should stick to comedy - only that if he is to be serious, he give it the same originality and substance his comic works have. Let's all hope he gets over his problem and becomes his old self again.
INTERIORS St Jenifer Cinema II and Roth's Tysons Corner 5.