“Annie Hall” (1977)
50th Academy Awards (1978)
Nominated for 5 awards, of which it won 4.
Nominated for Best Actor (Woody Allen).
Won Best Actress (Diane Keaton), Directing (Woody Allen), Best Picture (Charles H. Joffe), and Writing–Original (Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman).
Watched August 18, 2012.
Oh Woody Allen, what do I say about you? You are a genius, and yet despite your brilliance, the majority of your films rub me the wrong way. They have all the pieces, and they fit together very nicely–from the writing to the directing to the characterization to the cinematography and all the way to the editing, Annie Hall is flawless. Most distinctly it is recognized for its non-linear approach. However, something about it left with me with a bad taste in my mouth.
The film is a romantic comedy following the main character, Alvy Singer (Allen) who is a comedian. Ironically, Singer’s comedic journey follows Allen’s journey. From a writer to a stand up comedian who eventually begins writing plays, his character is incredibly pessimistic. The film opens with a brilliant camera- and audience-directed monologue. Within the inevitable love story of this film, Singer is a witty realist while Annie (Diane Keaton) is a ditzy artist. Through every discussion and experience, we discover more about them–about the depth of Singer’s nervous tendencies and Annie’s impatience with them. They fall in and out of love almost as many times as the roller coaster Singer grew up living underneath rose and fell. They are constantly pushing one another to be who they desire, when in reality they are trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
Much of the film revolves around sex. Right up front you can see how much Annie lacks confidence with men, but it is even more evidenced when she can’t sleep with Singer until she has smoked weed. After they are past the honeymoon phase, Singer is dismayed that they only have sex three times a week, while Annie feels as if they are constantly having sex, “I’d say three times a week!” Because they both approach life so differently, it is difficult for them to journey it together.
I think one of the main things that held me back from enjoying this film was the fact that Annie fell for Alvy at all. He was obnoxious, rude, and funny looking, but right from the start she was taken. Cynicism is not my favourite attribute, and I think that stopped me from liking Alvy at all. When you don’t like the main character, it is hard to enjoy a film, no matter how well done it is.
Despite my negative opinions, I do think that it is a film worth seeing! My absolute favourite piece of the film was the non-linear approach–not showing their relationship from start to finish but jumping around in order to show a more reflective, emotional flow to the relationship. For all of the good pieces to this film, I would be curious what you think of its humor and depth.
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