Movie Notes: September
= 2 stars
Starring Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Sam Waterston
Directed by Woody Allen
Insular Lane (Mia Farrow) moves to a country house with her friend Stephanie (Dianne Wiest) and boisterous mother Diane (Elaine Stritch). Things become complicated when writer Peter (Sam Waterston) and French teacher Howard (Denholm Elliot) arrive – it’s soon clear that everyone is in love with everyone else. Soon, Lane’s dark past comes to the forefront once again.
- The ensemble cast does its best with some really turgid material. Elaine Stritch is awesome as the domineering mother, and particularly affecting is Dianne Wiest (another entry in a surprising amount of range over several Allen films) and Sam Waterston as a quiet, serious precence. Then there’s the suicidal Lane, and Farrow digs deep to pull up some impressive emotional depth.
- After a lot of mucking about, things comes to a head and everything unmentioned (specifically, Lane’s “dark past”) bursts out into the open.
- Early on, Peter (Sam Waterson) establishes a clear theme – when faced with tragedy, some people rise above, while others remain trapped in the past. Diane is the former while her daughter, Lane, the latter.
- Allen’s direction is surprisingly standoffish, merely observing the characters from a safe distance, and things often resemble a play.
- Several older people mulling about a house, drinking, wanting to sleep with each other, while pontificating on life and wallowing in problems of little significance outside their four walls. Certainly not entertaining.
I found this film tough going. Take the lustiness of A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, run through the filter of Interiors, and subtract all the admirable Allen directing style from Hannah And Her Sisters. Yes, there’s some good acting, emotional drama, and a pay off of sorts, but like Neil LaBute’s movies, I don’t think the ending was worth the wait. Skip it.
Next Woody Allen Movie: Another Woman
Previous Woody Allen Movie: Radio Days
Rotten Tomatoes: September 64%