September (1987)







Denholm Elliott, Dianne Wiest, Mia Farrow, Elaine Stritch, Sam Waterston, Jack Warden, Rosemary Murphy, Ira Wheeler, Jane Cecil


At a summer house in Vermont, neighbor Howard (Denholm Elliott) falls in love with Lane (Mia Farrow), who's in a relationship with Peter (Sam Waterston), who's falling for Stephanie (Dianne Wiest), who's married with children.


After "Radio Days", Allen went back in serious mode for this tale about relationships, tried to duplicate the success of "Interiors", and frankly he did a quite good job. In fact "September" arguably is one of Woody's most underrated films, and in spite of not being easy to watch it still is a pretty good film.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this film more than other people did is the situation it presents and the way it's presented: six people inside a summer house  dealing with emotional confusion. While some might say it is like some terrible soap opera, I find it a reflective and introspective film about Allen's favourite themes: adultery, love, loss and childhood. And I do really fail to see how come the majority of critics and public did not understand that.

Allen managed to create an atmosphere and situation similar to Chekhov's without screwing up like he did with Fellini: he did not imitate the Russian writer but he did pay him a great tribute with his analysis of human nature.

Allen did a great job both directing - the shots of the house that open and close the film are excellent, and make those walls the 7th character of this drama - and writing - once again entirely written by him, the screenplay is very strong and filled with great Allenian dialogue.

Sure, the film is slowly paced and a little claustrophobic, but the performances make the effort worth. Mia Farrow is great as Lane, a fragile and troubled woman who has had her life overshadowed by a childhood trauma, and really does get to you. Dianne Wiest gives the other great perfomance of the film as Stephanie, a deeply romantic soul. It is not the best work of either actresses, but they both bring the characters to life. The rest of the cast also does a good job, especially Elaine Stritch as Lane's self-absorbed mother.

Bottom line, it is definitely worth watching, even if you didn't like "Interiors".


  1. This is one film I don't even remember hearing about. It sounds like a good film and it sounds "Swedish" to me because of all the relationships and issues.

    1. Yes, it is. It's another Bergmanian film.