Tuesday, February 8, 2011

620. Annie Hall (1977)

Running Time: 93 minutes
Directed By: Woody Allen
Written By: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Main Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon


Roger Ebert was quoted as saying (in regards to "Annie Hall") that it's "pretty much everybody's favorite Woody Allen movie". Not so fast there Ebert...this is one Woody Allen fan who's favorite Woody Allen movie is not "Annie Hall". But we'll get into the particulars of that a little later.

This time around Woody Allen is Alvy Singer, a comedian living in New York City (where else) and obsessing about such things as relationships and the overwhelming amount of anti-semitism in the city. He often vents his frustrations with life to his good friend Rob (Roberts) and it is Rob who ultimately introduces Alvy to Annie Hall (Keaton). The two go through a fairly awkward first meeting, with Annie trying her best to impress Alvy and Alvy trying his best not to blow the opportunity. They eventually form a relationship, break-up and get back together, through the course of the film and we're treated to flashbacks of Alvy's previous marriages, relationships and childhood as Allen tells us the story of Alvy Singer and the tie wearing Annie Hall. Let's just leave it at that, because any attempt I make to further explain the plot of "Annie Hall" will simply sound like dreck, and that's basically your full plot line right there.


Now then, getting back to the "Annie Hall isn't my favorite Woody Allen film" thing. Well it isn't, plain and simple. I can probably accredit to it being one of the last Woody Allen films I saw, with my mindset being "save the best for last". So I meant well, but in the long run, I saw about 15 other Woody Allen films that I would put above this one including "Manhattan Murder Mystery (the better film that pairs Keaton and Allen) and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (which we'll be getting to)...but let's not get off track, we're here to talk about "Annie Hall".

Now, I don't hate "Annie Hall" by any means. It's a perfectly enjoyable film and actually a really important one, as it's the one that broke Allen of his six film streak of pure comedies (starting with his directorial debut) and allowed him to transition into a more serious filmmaker. Starting with "Annie Hall" his films for the next almost thirty years were either dramedies (a mixture of drama and comedy) or straight out dramas (see "September" and "Another Woman"). That thirty year period is where, in my opinion, we saw our best Woody Allen films...so in a sense you can't deny "Annie Hall", as it set a theme in Woody Allen films, where he often times examined sex and relationships and to me that's when Allen was at his best, just not in this particular picture.

Another thing I feel the need to mention is how much I love Woody Allen - the actor. I've always found it very difficult to watch an Allen film that Allen isn't in and while there are many good ones, to me it just isn't the same if Allen isn't in there. With that being said, "Annie Hall" is one of the greatest acted films of Woody Allen's career. I just love watching the guy onscreen.

Sorry if my review of the Allen films are all over the place, but I think I've just been waiting so long to type blog posts that were about Woody Allen and his films, that I'm just trying to cram in all of the things that I have to say about this great director. Bottom line on "Annie Hall" is that it IS good, but it's certainly not his best, in my opinion. If you go into expecting the be all, end all of the Woody Allen directed films, then there's a good chance you'll be disappointed. But if you go into expecting just another really good Woody Allen movie, then you'll probably be pleased. I expected greatness, seeing as how this was the Allen film that won all the Academy Awards and was disappointed by it. But this is the third or fourth time I've seen the movie and I still think there are much better Woody Allen films.

RATING: 6.5/10 I have a feeling that subconsciously I'm rating this movie on the Woody Allen scale, instead of the regular movie scale and thus explains the 6.5/10


February 8, 2011 2:19pm


  1. Oh! Now, there's a shock.. only 6.5 for Annie Hall. Pause for a moment whilst I go back and find out why...
    Well, the temptation is to say you were so harsh in the score because you had too high ecpectations.. but you have watched it several times and no doubt been as fair as you usually are... So I will remain puzzled as to the missing 3 (at least) points.
    (For now, I will accept your explanation that 6.5 on a Woody scale translates as a lot more on an all movie scale)
    I mean.. it's worth it purely for the roof top conversations with sub-titles isn't it? And the way he represents the pointlessness of trying to re-capture 'magic moments' you had with one person with another, and being dissapointed it isn't the same...
    So I'm off to find anoither WA film youve not been so Crule too..

  2. I just don't understand the praise for "Annie Hall" when there are like 10 Woody films that I enjoy more. Lets ban his pure comedies and pretend, for just a moment, that "Annie Hall" was his first movie. In that case, I still feel that the following are superior to "Annie Hall": Manhattan, Broadway Danny Rose, Radio Days, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Husbands and Wives, Deconstructing Harry, Mighty Aphrodite, Bullets Over Broadway and Match Point...I think all of those are better than "Annie Hall".

    Like I said though, I still thoroughly enjoy "Annie Hall" and most of my hostility toward is just puzzlement, as to why it's the one that gets all the praise. Still think it's very good though.


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