ANNIE HALL, 1977
Directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
Review by Eli Manning
Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the interesting Annie Hall.
First lines of film:
Alvy Singer: [addressing the camera] There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.</br
That is the overall theme of this movie and Woody Allen tells us about it straight up.
There’s been a lot written about this film and many of the film’s core ideas are in other people’s films because this is just one of those films! It triggered a great emotion in the world and is considered the Classic Comedy film of all-time.
Woody Allen is a master of the art of laughter and sadness. When he is in his own films he always plays a man who loves himself and hates himself at the same time. His self-love and confidence puts himself in great spots and situations until his self-hatred brings him down and out of those good situations. And that is the grammar of Woody Allen. These are the films he makes: then, now and in the future.
Allen plays moderately successful comedian Alvy Singer. He’s been married before and is seasoned in the world of relationships. Seasoned but really a failure in it. He falls for the woman Annie Hall, a young idealist with different core values than himself – played brilliantly by Diane Keaton (who picked up an Oscar for Best Actress). Annie Hall likes Alvy because he’s the type of guy that she can learn a lot from and has been in situations where she wants to be.
Right from the start it becomes a mentor/protege relationship and the madness of this situation is that Alvy can learn a whole lot more from Annie than vice/versa. But Alvy is too much into Alvy and his own love/hate of himself. It’s just too hard for him to really see or understand this.
Of course this is a comedy and it’s a very funny film. So funny in fact that I believe that someone who watches this film 100 years from now will laugh just as much as we do now and when they did in 1977 when it opened. It has universal appeal as we all want to find love but the trick is that you need to love yourself first in order to love someone else.
Emotionally most of us attach ourselves to Annie Hall because she carries this genuine kindness for herself and humanity. And we want her to get far away from Alvy because he’s a selfish jerk, even though we can’t help but like him. Avly (and Woody Allen) has charm and charm seems to go a long way in life.
A film everyone needs to watch and see. Some will hate it I understand because it’s just a film that hits too close to home for some people to really laugh at. Or they just hate quirky comedies. In my opinion it’s the best comedy of all-time.