Top 100 Movie Review No. 074 Annie Hall (1977)

Ranked 074 on the IMDB Top 100 Movies. Watched January 2019.

Cast: Woody Allen (Alvy Singer), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Tony Roberts (Rob), Carol Kane (Allison), Paul Simon (Tony Lacey), Shelley Duvall (Pam)
Director: Woody Allen
My rating: 9.0 / 10

Comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) examines the rise and fall of his relationship with struggling nightclub singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton).

What’s to Like
The fast paced dialogue, the constantly switching tones of the movie (fourth wall breaks, imagined conversations, and animation), the comedy, the intelligence of the characters, the self awareness of the movie.

What’s not to Like

This is a very good movie with Woody Allen (Alvy Singer) at his crazy neurotic and wisecracking best. The story is told in retrospective after Alvy has broken up with Annie Hall (Dianne Keaton). Annie Hall is petty, smart, a little bit of a scatter brain, who has great affection for Alvy and eventual exasperation.

Alvy Singer turns every relived experience in life into a running commentary of life, he appears to live in order to talk about living and is fascinated with death. He has been in therapy for 16 years and pushes Annie into it was well which eventually leads to a diminished sex life and breakup. In fact many of the things Alvy pushes Annie into leads to problems down the line including her further education (affair with a professor) and singing career (Annie moves to Los Angeles).

There are many different tones and styles to this movie, for example at one point Alvy interprets a fellow movie goer about his views of filmmakers and then stops the movie to bring in a film director to say the views on his work are totally wrong!

You just never know what is going to happen in each scene, is it played for jokes, does it have a fourth wall break, does it have an out of body evidence (Annie when she is bored during sex), or will it feature an exaggerated flashback or the play of the experience Alvy creates inside the film or kids speaking as adults (during Alvy flashback to his early school days)?

I loved a chat Alvy and Annie have on a rooftop on the first day when they met when subtitles come up with what they are actually thinking instead of what they are saying. In fact several times you see this attempt at internal thoughts exposing how differently both a thinking about the other, for example Alvy thinking Annie doesn’t think he is smart and Annie thinking Alvy thinks she isn’t smart enough for him!

All my life I had heard about Annie Hall being a great film and I had seen some of Woody Allen’s work but had never gotten around to seeing this movie until now and I ended up thoroughly enjoying the experience. I can now connect Allen’s later New York films to this one being the beginning of his NYC love affair.

Academy Awards

  1. Best Picture – winner
  2. Best Actress (Diane Keaton) – winner
  3. Best Director (Woody Allen) – winner
  4. Best Original Screenplay – winner
  5. Best Actor (Woody Allen) – nominee

About Nathan

A World traveller who has so far experienced 71 countries in this amazing world.
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