My Take on “Annie Hall”


In the midst of the hubbub of this past weekend, I did manage to sneak in a film that I have longed to see – Woody Allen’s 1977 Annie Hall starring Allen and Diane Keaton. Initially my main reason for wanting to see this film is to see what all the fuss was about – especially since it captured the Best Picture crown instead of my much beloved Star Wars. As a youth I could not imagine ANYTHING being better than Star Wars, EVER.

As I matured, my obsession with the sci-fi epic began to wane, coinciding with a more “sophisticated” cinematic toolkit. As a result I started SLOWLY to take notice and begin to watch some of Mr. Allen’s later works. While I have it on good authority that these are in fact inferior parts of his body of work, I liked them well enough, especially last year’s Midnight in Paris.

Since then, I have seen Love and Death, which I found a bit odd, but oh well – I digress. Back to Ms. Hall.

I will not bother with a plot synopsis or anything except to say it is about Alvy Singer’s recounting the beginning, middle, near end and finally death throw of his relationship with Annie Hall (Keaton). The story is told is specific time blocks that illustrate particular highs and lows in the relationship.

My immediate reaction was that one of my favorite films, When Harry Met Sally … seemed to lift many stylistic and elemental bits from this film. I guess imitation is the greatest form of flattery, eh? I may be wrong, but that is how it appeared to me.

At least now being more familiar with Allen’s shtick, allowed to be mildly diverted in a way that in prior years would have been impossible. I laughed a bit more than I expected to, so I am taking that as a positive. The writing was paced very well (credit Allen and Marshall Brickman) and all the performances well delivered.

I think my favorite scene was when Annie and Alvy were on that line to see a film and the guy behind him was, for lack of a better term, a pretentious jerk. Some things never change 🙂

Another bright spot was seeing the Capote cameo and appearances by Paul Simon, Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum. That was definitely a treat I was not expecting.

One of the few bad things I have to say about the screening has nothing at all to do with the film – apparently the print size was larger than the screen and during the “subtitle” screen, the bottom portion of the projection was cut off.

In the end I found Annie Hall to be an equally light-hearted and melancholic look at a relationship found and lost. I imagine this is just the way Allen wanted it.

 

Comments

  1. ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN are my two great favouritte Allen movies from the 1970s, though it does seem a shame that at your screening the cinematography by the great Gordon Willis was so egregiously compromised! WHEN HARRY MET SALLY to me always feels a lot like Woody Allen, but with less angst! MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY was initially developed as a kind of sequel, using a linear plot that Allen ultimately removed from HALL.
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  2. I still haven’t seen this film but I’m actually not a fan of Woody Allen as an actor, seems like I don’t like the movie when he’s IN the movie, like Scoop. I did enjoy ‘Purple Rose of Cairo’ and ‘Midnight in Paris’ very much. Glad you enjoyed it though Iba.
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  3. Jack Deth says:

    Hi, Iluv and company:

    An intriguing choice for today’s discussion!

    ‘Annie Hall’ is the first film of Woody Allen’s where his neuroses began to take over and become characters unto themselves. Though those neuroses supplied some incredibly hilarious lines, I still enjoy the scenes with the over sized spider. And later, the pompous patron, Woody, Annie and Marshall McLuhan waiting in line for movie tickets.

  4. Glad you liked Annie Hall, often considered to be Allen’s best work. I’m not sure I like it as much as more folks. I guess Allen’s personality can get a bit irritating to me after a while ahah
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  5. I too saw this, Iba, after many years of not having seen it, just to see what the fuss was. I liked it a less than you, but it was okay. I mean, I liked Diane Keaton’s clothes. But then I’m not Woody Allen’s biggest fan. I can never remember laughing really hard at any of his comedy movies.

    Still, I’m glad I finally saw it.

    I do have high hopes for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, which I haven’t seen yet.
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  6. Still have to see this….on the Netflix queue!

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