Annie Hall: A nervous romance.
Romantic adventures of neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer and his equally neurotic girlfriend Annie Hall. The film traces the course of their relationship from their first meeting, and serves as an interesting historical document about love in the 1970s. Written by Scott Renshaw
April 20, 1977
I am sure without Annie Hall, I would never have my favorite TV show of all time, Seinfeld. In the first two episodes, before he caught on that George was Larry David, David Alexander admits he was doing a Woody Allen impression. I love the quirky, anxiety ridden, necrotic Alvie Singer played by Woody Allen.
I have to admit, about 30% of his joke references are either before my time or go clear over my head. I am unfortunately not well read enough for a lot of it. I have seen Annie Hall a handful of times and what gets me every time is the hilarious 4th wall break, where Alvie talks to the audience; or when he talks to memories and random people on the street. This brilliance has been used countless times in movies since. I think with today’s audience has no appreciation where it originated from. Ever notice the bit Good Will Hunting stole from Annie Hall? Where Mini Driver’s character talks about getting the first kiss out of the way at the beginning of the date to make it less awkward.
The story is all over the place from flash backs, cartoons to inner monologues. Woody Allen tells the story as he wants to and doesn’t care about giving a strait A to B story. He directs this film like he would tell a story to a friend, and what more relatable a topic than relationships. I have paid homage to this film time and time again when talking about relationship. Okay, I steal lines from it all the time. Most people from my generation, having never seen Annie Hall just think I’m super funny and insightful.
Contemporary Rom-Coms do it without the sorry so I don’t feel as bad. Yet unlike the modern rom com, Annie Hall at its core is about the harsh reality of the relationship. I love toward the end of the movie where in his play, Alvie has the happily ever after ending acted out. As a means to show us what we all want to happen. But as in more times than not the relationship, (spoiler alert) ends. That’s what makes this film so vital today. Even if the references go over your head, or you find the political and social commentary dated, if you have been in a relationship you feel for this movie.
There is no way to recast this film, this is so signature Woody Allen it can’t be touched. Only he could recast it and just redo Alvie as himself. In true Woody fashion I’m sure he would recast the beautiful Diane Keaton with some new young starlet. Chloe Grace Moritz or Shailene Woodley too young for the role you think? I’m sure Woody doesn’t see it that way.
Woody Allen has always been a hit or miss for me personally. Part of that being the controversy off camera, part of it feeling like there is always an “I’m smarter than you” aura to all of his movies. I was reluctant to watch this film though it sits on the AFI Top 100 list.
Annie Hall is an awesome movie … it’s genuine. It has painful awkward moments. It’s raw. It’s real. And there is no way I could physically be in the room with Woody Allen for more than 5 minutes (however I do enjoy watching the necrosis on screen). There are wonderful one-liners that make it worth seeing the movie a few more times.
Diane Keaton was brilliant and adorable. In my fictional world I’d like to think after the she dated Alvie she met George Banks (Steve Martin) of Father of the Bride and lived happily ever after. And of course it was fascinating to see the iconic fashion throughout. If you are a fashionista but you are not into Woody movies, give this a chance purely to appreciate the character’s effect on 70’s fashion. Can we please, finally, let go of skinny jeans and go back to the baggy pants a la Annie Hall?
And can you ever have enough young Christopher Walken? Even though he is only on for a few minutes, you can’t help by smile at his line breaks and amazing, epic hair.
This movie is in the same realm of When Harry Met Sally: an inside and interesting look at a relationship between a man and woman … and the friends and strangers who have something to say about it. Watching it with your significant other adds another layer of intrigue. As you sit next to your guy and Alvie or Annie complain about this or that, you think “oh boy, I hope I don’t do that.” Spoiler alert – you probably do. That’s why this is a great rom-com deserving of the word “genuine”.
ANNIE HALL TRAILER