Monday, September 7, 2009

Annie Hall (1977)

TOP 100 FILMS: #99

Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) has just broken up with long time girlfriend Annie Hall (Diane Keaton), and now seeks to retrace their relationship, and his childhood, and determine what went wrong as he seeks out a new romantic partner.

Filled with great cameos (Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Walken), Woody Allen's 1977 dramedy Annie Hall is a pinnacle of all things Allen represents. Hilariously neurotic, freakishly odd, and yet amusingly unique, Allen looks a relationships in a way only he can. There's never this feeling of generic or cheese, no over the top insanely romantic action that strikes at you and forces our main characters into passion. Instead the entire film is gradual, realistic, and is willing to admit something so many romance films don't.... not all relationships are meant for eternal happiness.

Allen addresses this in his own way, mixing cartoon drawings, non-linear pacing, and amusing side sketches in order to get his point across. Allen's delivery of one liners, such as "Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love.", is shockingly unique as well. Allen doesn't stop the movie, swing in for a close up, slow down the film, and wait for the joke to be delivered. Instead the jokes are just pieces of conversation, sneaked in lines throughout the film, as the characters live their lives, and Allen discusses love with the audience (literally and figuratively).

The unique use of breaking the 3rd wall adds a sense of realism, Alvy isn't just Alvy Singer, he's really Woody Allen. Ironic in some sense, seeing as the film came off real life breakup with then girlfriend Diane Keaton, whose real name is Diane Hall, elements of which have been debated for some time.

Overall Annie Hall is just one of those genuinely great movie experiences, unique, and influential, a must see for any movie lover.

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