It’s Woody Allen directing and starring in an all-time classic in the only way that he possibly can, with every single idiosyncrasy he possesses on display for all to see.
Written By: Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman
Directed By: Woody Allen
Annie Hall is both a comedy and a serious drama, if you are willing to pay attention beyond the side splitting antics of Woody Allen. He tackles the idea of relationships in a unique and completely honest fashion. There is contained within Annie Hall the portrait of a man that can’t deal with change yet wants people to change all the time. Alvy Singer is a paradox unto himself, and he covers this paradox with joke after joke delivered in offbeat Tommy gun fashion. Mr. Allen’s performance as Singer is so strong that he needs an actress that can stand up to him while at the same time allow for his character to be the eccentric and ultimately doomed individual that he is. Diane Keaton is able to do that by playing someone just as eccentric as Singer, but someone who is able to change and who can, unlike Singer, deal with change around her. Annie Hall delivers comedy and drama in spades but it also delivers some bravo performances and perhaps the most astute look at the relationship ever presented on celluloid. It also does this by presenting the most truthful ending possible, they don’t end up together, but life goes on, no doubt to the next great misery in Alvy Singer’s life.
Outside of the story Annie Hall is also a finely crafted and innovative film. Many of the techniques that have become common place today, differentiating subtitles, animated interlude, etc. were put to full use by Mr. Allen in what was a tremendous display of craftsmanship by a director. Like with most films, those innovations or nifty techniques aren’t enough, because for them to truly be effective they must be melded into the story. Mr. Allen does this and he does so marvelously. Annie Hall isn’t just a story film, nor is it just a technique film, it is a film that integrates all its various elements into one of the greatest cinema experiences ever.
In a lot of ways Annie Hall is a forgotten film, it came out in 1977, the same year that the Star Wars juggernaut was unleashed upon the world. There are people who hear the name of the Oscar winner for 1977 and mutter, “Annie Hall, how did that movie win over Star Wars?” The great majority of these people have never seen Annie Hall, because without even delving into the merits of Star Wars it is in this reviewer’s opinion that Annie Hall is quite the deserving movie, of any accolades it receives. If you haven’t seen Annie Hall then give it a gander and hopefully you will discover that 1977 wasn’t just the year of Star Wars but the year that Woody Allen released a masterpiece and scared the living hell out of all of us with just how crazy he really could be.