September

Like Interiors, a Serious Drama: a Chekhovian chamber piece investigating the twisted bonds that tether a handful of lonely, arty, upper-crust Americans gathered, as fall approaches, at a Vermont country retreat. Unlike Interiors, however, this is no misguided tribute to Bergman: Allen's style is now so self-assured that the film simply looks like Hannah and Her Sisters without the laughs. Admittedly it's all rather familiar and schematic: disillusioned writer (Waterston) torn in his affections between Farrow and her best friend Wiest; Farrow's former film star mother (Stritch) turning up with latest lover (Warden), threatening to deprive Farrow of her home and to embarrass all with a volume of lurid memoirs; neighbour (Elliott) whose forlorn eyes betray unrequited love for Farrow. There are moments in Allen's script that smack of self-conscious contrivance, and Farrow's miserable victim is so wimpy as to be genuinely irritating. But the other performances - most notably those of Wiest and Warden - are superb, while Allen's direction shows admirable economy both in establishing and sustaining mood, and in clearly delineating the claustrophobic parameters of his characters' emotional lives.

Release details

Duration: 83 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Woody Allen
Screenwriter: Woody Allen
Cast: Dianne Wiest
Denholm Elliott
Mia Farrow
Jack Warden
Sam Waterston
Elaine Stritch
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