Annie Hall (1977) Directed by Woody Allen. With Woody Allen and Diane Keaton.
Amid the fourth wall breakage and stand-up comedy routine feel, that feature heavily in Woody Allen’s seminal non-rom-com, Annie Hall, there lurks a certain refreshing human truthfulness that is sorely missing from the standard fare that Hollywood has become known for producing. As director, co-writer and star, Allen’s film has echoed throughout independent cinema ever since its 1977 release, while at the same time influencing mainstream film and television of the like of When Harry Met Sally and Sex and the City.
Like much of Allen’s work, Annie Hall is directed as a film about characters first, and story second. Set in New York, it revolves around Alvy Singer and his on/off relationship with Annie, a ditzy lounge room singer played by Diane Keaton. In the film, Alvy is a successful stand-up comedian and Allen’s acting style is always on the brink of morphing into a comedic routine, which hangs well with his characters neurotic self-awareness. Together with Keaton, they make for an enjoyably offbeat screen couple. In a sense, the film is a parody of the relationship, making comedic observations about the rights, wrongs and wherefore’s of being in and out of love.
Seen 37-years after its original release, the dialogue of Annie Hall still cuts through. Bittersweet and quirky, it’s not hard to discover why the film is revered so much in film appreciation circles, yet still, it sometimes feels loose and is full of minor imperfections. But then again, can’t that be said of all the most beautiful things? 4.5/5