The Interiors An Evaluation

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Woody Allen's serious side, a review.

Submitted: August 11, 2008

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Submitted: August 11, 2008



“The Interiors”


Jacqueline Paduano

  The Interiors was a real life depiction of a crumbling family. As the movie progresses the family respectively deteriorates. Although the family members did not have lucid psychological disorders they were clearly in a state of disharmony among themselves and with each other. They portrayed tendencies towards certain disorders.

Woody Allen’s film dealt with some of the biggest issues families have death, assumptions, and truth. They were all detached from each other emotionally, living as miserable people only feeling joy when causing each other misery. They were a stereotypically pretentious and wealthy family that made no room for passion and warmth. All of the sisters lacked empathy, unconcerned with their incessant mother’s mental health, obsessing over their own inadequate career decisions. Their mother became extremely depressed and unavoidably committed suicide. It seems the name “The Interiors” may be a double metaphor. One meaning symbolized the family putting up walls from their interior emotions and feelings. The latter meaning may have been the sisters trying to protect their mother in interior walls of their home from the reality of the outside world. The waves on the beach symbolic for the inevitable pressures of the real world crashing in on her.

This movie represents a highly disconnected family who are in denial of their dysfunctional view of one another. The father was emotionally exhausted and decided to leave his wife and remarry a “vulgarian” as his pretentious daughter called it. The point where they unavoidably had to realize things were horribly wrong was their mothers attempt to commit suicide, which became an external need for action. The movie does not have obvious answers of what is wrong with the family, but while watching it you know there are many problems due to every scene being quiet, serious, and very negative. Woody Allen gives you an up close perspective where you almost feel like you are in the room with the characters, the hostility so thick you can cut it with a knife.

The psychological disorders that may have been portrayed in this film were not transparent, but showed tendencies towards certain personality disorders classified in the DSM. The article “Assessment and Diagnosis of Personality Disorders” (Clark, 2007, p. 234), discusses the clarity of personality disorders, and emphasizes that it is not the case of what but where, and when you have the dysfunction. This is relevant to the characters because they depict certain abnormalities described in Clark ’s article.

Renata is the sister of the family who has a career as a well known successful writer. She seems to have narcissistic and avoidant tendencies. She avoids seeing her family as much as possible and although she has friends she is not close to them by any means. Renata always felt in competition with her sister for her father’s affection which is a staple diagnostic criterion for avoidant personality. She is extremely sensitive and becomes deeply offended when her father seeks out her sister Joey’s approval to remarry rather than hers. Renata is self absorbed with her minute problems which are a mask for the deeper issues that lie within. She has many narcissistic tendencies. She is extremely envious of her sister Joey, and believes Joey desires her talent. Renata is preoccupied with her success and brilliance, she is convinced she is unique and is misunderstood by most; she lacks empathy, and is extremely arrogant. All of these are traits of a person with narcissism and she clearly represents them. Her husband Fredrick also shows signs of avoidant personality disorder. He feels inadequate for his lack of success as an artist, which is reinforced daily as his wife is employed as a writer for “The New Yorker”. He is very sensitive to criticism and avoids her family and friends at every cost. They consistently fight over his lack of accomplishments and her success. He shows extreme restraint in his relationship with his wife for fear of being ridiculed, and sees her as competition.

The mother in the movie Eve is extremely cold and unattached to the family, focusing on one of her daughters and becomes infatuated with interior designing with excessively expensive pieces. Her fixation is now how things look but an attempt to control her inner harmony. Joey and Renata take different approaches of trying to keep their mother at peace. Joey provides the harsh truth and feels her mother needs to realize the reality of the situation; Renata on the other hand keeps her mother in a state of falseness and a fake reality. This leaves a cliff hanger of how the problem should be approached. Is the truth always good, or is it better to sometimes let people live in their own delusions when they will never come to a realization. Although it is obvious Eve is unstable and off the edge it really is not clear what disorder she portrays. She seems to be disconnected with reality with no chance of returning.

The problem with diagnosing these personality disorders is it an internal flaw of the individual? Or due to life’s many pressures and circumstances? How can one distinguish the root of the issue? It is very unclear and disorders overlap. At this point it is a matter of an educated assumption. The DSM personality disorders reveal the characteristics of normal versus abnormal individuals largely overlap. (Clark, 2007, p. 341). The families adaptive and maladaptive personality attributes are to complex to analyze acutely from one single perspective.

 Work Cited

Clark, L. A. (2007) Assessment and diagnosis of personality disorder: perennial issues and an emerging reconceptualization. The annual review of psychology, 58,227-57

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