IMDb Top 250: #227 Annie Hall

Annie Hall (1977)

Director: Woody Allen
Writers: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

***

 

When I wrote my review for Match Point, I stated that I am not Woody Allen’s biggest fan. The truth is, that there are few artists who are as polarizing as Woody Allen. It’s not just that some people will love him, while the rest hate him. It’s that some of his movies are brilliant, while others are just so easy to hate.

In my case, it’s all about his type of humor. I just don’t find this guy to be funny, that’s all. Annie Hall is no different. Allen plays Alvy Singer here, a comedy writer who, in an opening monologue states that his relationships with women can be summed up by the old Groucho Marx joke, ‘I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.’

Singer meets Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) when they make up a pair for a tennis match arranged by a friend of his. The movie then follows the course of Alvy and Annie’s relationship, with its tenuous beginnings during which their conversation is subtitled with the actual thoughts of the speaker. Allen breaks the fourth wall a lot in this movie. Occasionally, he halts the story to question passers-by on the street about what they would do in his position. And it’s this exact cleverness for which many have praised him that I do not like. Maybe it was revolutionary back then, but it’s the same as placing a dead shark in a tank of formaldehyde and call it art.

Released in 1977, Annie Hall beat Star Wars to win that year’s Best Picture Academy Award, which feels like a sort of bad joke. Just like Allen’s in most of his movies.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how this same guy can create brilliant movies. How?

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