5 Films (And A TV Show)… A new series where we recommend films referenced, inspired, influenced or generally like a certain Woody Allen film, from his first to his latest. All picks are subjective – let the arguments begin!
Woody Allen is often praised for his ability to write women, but he should get the same acclaim for his ability to write families. Over many films, Allen has captured the love and rivalry of siblings, and their closeness and distance to the generations above and below. Allen’s first family came in Interiors.
This was Allen’s first serious drama. As the years pass, and the rise of independent films, this emotional story and slow pace has aged well.
So here’s 5 Films and (a TV show) to watch after ‘Interiors‘.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962)
D. Sidney Lumet
Allen has often expressed a wish to be taken seriously as a dramatic playwright, like his heroes that include Eugene O’Neill. His first dramatic effort shares a lot with the film adaptation of O’Neill’s most famous work. Three dysfunctional siblings and a troubled mother are all brought together to simmer and explode.
Sidney Lumet brings his typically intense sensibility to the screen. Fun fact – his dad was the priest in ‘What’s My Perversion’ from Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex.
Cries And Whispers (1972)
D. Ingmar Bergman
Woody Allen has claimed many times that Ingmar Bergman is his favourite director. Interiors change of pace seemed to be Allen deliberately aping Bergman. It is films such as Cries And Whispers – the story of three sisters stuck in the same house, dealing with the idea of mortality.
The film was shot by Sven Nykvist, who would work with Allen on three films starting with Another Woman.
Life Is Sweet (1990)
D. Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh arrived on the British film scene with a style fully formed. Working class stories, born from character and working with talented actors who improvised their roles. Life Is Sweet showed what he cold do – crafting an intense but touching family drama, and making stars of everyone involved. Jim Broadbent would go on to work with Allen in Bullets Over Broadway.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
D. Wes Anderson
The other WA was one of a batch of promising new directors that came through the 90s. But with his third film, The Royal Tenenbaums, he confirmed his presence as a one of a kind auteur. It was unapologetic about it’s quirks – the novelistic structure, the attention to detail in the sets, the use of music and elaborate side paths.
But it’s the Tenenbaum family that stays with us. Heart breaking moments, filled with love. And New York looks pretty good too.
A huge raft of Allen alumni – Gene Hackman (Another Woman), Anjelica Huston (Crimes And Misdemeanours, Manhattan Murder Mystery), Owen Wilson (Midnight In Paris), Alec Baldwin (Alice, To Rome With Love, Blue Jasmine), Larry Pine (Celebrity, Melinda And Melinda) – all appear.
This Is Where I Leave You (2014)
D. Shawn Levy
Based on screenwriter Jonathan Tropper’s own book, this high profile cast stack the deck for a wonderful low key family drama. Four siblings return home to deal with their father’s passing, and we find ourselves stuck in a house with great company. Emotional and tender, this is exactly the kind of great film people say they don’t make anymore. Corey Stoll (Midnight In Paris, the upcoming 2016 film) is just one of the many stars in the film.
One of the most acclaimed comedies of recent times – but is it even a comedy? Jeffrey Tambor stars as Morton, who opens up about identifying as a woman. It leads to his three children re-examining their lives and their relationships with their parents.
The first hit from Amazon Studios, who will be making history with Woody Allen later this year.
Let us know your picks for ‘Interiors‘ and if you agree with our picks. We are also looking for picks for Manhattan, which is the next film we will cover. Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.
The great thing about these “family drama” type pictures is that on a long enough timeline they are infinitely relatable subject matter. When evaluating your own family or observing others, everyone can relate to a little family dysfunction. Its always interesting to see how families evolve in their emotional closeness and distance, power plays, sibling rivalries, jealousies, betrayals, loyalties etc. The list goes on and on. Blood is suppose to be thicker than water, but that’s not always the case. As the family dynamics change, the unifying strength of that blood gets tested continuously throughout the vicissitudes of time. Woody and the whole team did a superb job on Interiors!!!