“Annie Hall” (1977) – 4/5 Stars


If “Annie Hall” had been a later Woody Allen film, you’d be ready to slap him by the end of the film’s opening monologue. But in 1977, the world was not full of Allen films filled with Allen humor and “Allenisms.” Thank goodness for that, because the film is truly one where his character can’t be the sole focus. This is a film about Annie, as the title suggests, which really makes this movie great and still shine among the Allen repertoire.

The film stars Woody Allen as his usual neurotic, pessimistic self, in the form of comedian Alvy Singer and follows the story of his life with a focus on his relationships with women and his family. The chronology of the film is off-whack with the beginning being his childhood, followed by a time where he and Annie (Diane Keaton) are not getting along followed by the story of how they met with several tangents of Alvy’s past wives, etc. thrown in the mix.

Allen tests your patience with his character most of the time, but Keaton as Annie is absolutely intriguing. You are drawn to her inexplicably just as Alvy is. She’s a complete mess of a character, but she is so convincing and so interesting. The two of them, along with the film, are so off-beat, but that’s what makes it good. The characters walking through memories like “A Christmas Carol” and talking to the camera and the scene when they’re in line at the theater and the guy behind Alvy completely irritates him are very fun and don’t detract from the story.

Perhaps the best part of the film is that it’s not so serious. It’s kind of ironic that Alvy is the biggest pessimist in the world, when his film sort of treats life in a casual and humorous way that’s very much how things are sometimes. “Annie Hall” shows that film doesn’t have to be about an intense subject that is more interesting than anyone’s normal life. Normal life with strange, weird, but normal people can make for just as good of a film. A story about a relationship between two people doesn’t have to be filled with sweeping moments of love and emotion. Would all this be nearly as effective if Allen and Keaton weren’t really strong, believable characters? No, probably not, but that shows that there is more to good film than a unique plot that falls into a category beyond the average person’s experience.

Annie Hall (1977)
Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton


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