Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

What's it about? It charts the ups-and-downs of the relationship between comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) and ditzy Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) in 1970s New York.

Is it any good? One of the great romantic comedies. It consists mostly of people talking, but when their dialogue is written by a great screenwriter and jokewriter like Allen, that's hardly a problem. Added to this, he uses an impressive variety of techniques to tell his story; voiceover, flashbacks (in which he interacts with his younger self), subtitles (to tell us what characters are really thinking), animation (where he meets Snow White's Wicked Queen), split-screen, direct-to-camera address and several surreal sight gags. The result is an endlessly inventive, screamingly funny film that never loses sight of the bittersweet love story at its centre. And the closing eggs joke is one of the great final lines in cinema.

I don't trust you. What do others think? It won four Oscars (Film, Director, Actress, Screenplay) in 1978, but Allen wasn't there to collect his, since it was on a Monday night and that was his regular night for playing with his jazz band in New York. Look up any list of great comedies or comic moments and Annie Hall is sure to feature somewhere on it. The fashion world was also rather taken with Diane Keaton's tomboyish outfits in the film, meaning ties, vests and baggy pants became standard 1970s attire for many female fans.

Anything else I should know? It's believed to be partly based on Allen's real-life romance with Keaton (Diane Hall was her real name), although Allen denies this. He does admit it marked a turning point in his career, where he ventured away from the broad comedy of his first few films into something with a bit more substance. However, it was only during the editing that the film really came together, changing the overall focus to a love story and dropping superfluous plots and characters. Such was the success of it, he continued to deliver more of the same at a consistently high standard for the next 20 years. He went off the boil in the 00s,admittedly.

What does the Fonz think? Comic and serious, funny and sad, real and surreal. And brilliant.

Buy it on Amazon

No comments:

Post a Comment