Saturday, May 09, 2009

Movie Log: Annie Hall

Yes, I admit it: I'd never seen Annie Hall before. I'm not a neurotic New Yorker -- I may well be neurotic, but not in that precise way -- nor did I ever date or marry one, and I was awfully young when it came around originally. (And the last time I tried to catch up on the "early, funny" Woody Allen movies I'd missed, I got Manhattan, which was good, but I'm pretty sure this is the one I was aiming for.)

I hadn't known about Annie Hall's structure before -- it's a complicated movie that doesn't move directly through its plot, but flashes backward and forward (and drops into less directly representational scenes a couple of times as well, such as one brief animated scene) -- but it gives the movie a weight and inevitability that most romantic comedies lack. (On the other hand, there's a bigger way that this is different from the average romantic comedy -- the audience knows from very early on that this relationship isn't going to, in fact didn't, work out.)

So Woody Allen plays a character named Alvy Singer -- who's Allen himself, possibly a little less successful, but otherwise the same -- and Diane Keaton, of course, is the corn-fed Midwestern girl Annie Hall who he falls for, gets even more neurotic about, and eventually breaks up with. Singer narrates the story -- at times addressing the audience directly, or stopping the action, or dropping back to his childhood to explain things.

Look, you don't need me to tell you this is a good movie -- it won the Oscar for best picture, despite being a 93-minute-long comedy starring Woody Allen. So I'm really just saying that I finally saw it, and I agree with everybody. But I'll probably want to see it again before another thirty-nine years pass.


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen a number of classic movies, but even I'VE seen "Annie Hall"! Glad you liked it. I saw it when it first came out, then for a second time about five years ago. It's held up nicely.

Jeff P.

Anonymous said...

The story of how Annie Hall became Annie Hall is a pretty interesting one. It wasn't the story that Allen intended to focus on — but the editor, in their wisdom, guided the cutting into the shape in which it was released. (It was originally a long, long movie that was about Alvy's character and Annie Hall was a minor story in the tale of his crippling neuroses.) Still, one of the all-time great rom-coms.

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