Considered to be "Woody Allen's breakthrough movie" (Time), Annie Hall won* four OscarsĀ(r), including Best Picture, and established Allen as the premier auteur filmmaker. Thought by many critics to be Allen's magnum opus,... more » Annie Hall confirmed that he had, "completed the journey from comic to humorist, from comedy writer to wit [and] from inventive moviemaker to creative artist" (Saturday Review). Alvy Singer (Allen) is one of Manhattan's most brilliant comedians, but when it comes to romance, his delivery needs a little work. Introduced byhis best friend, Rob (Tony Roberts), Alvy falls in love with the ditzy but delightful nightclub singer, Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). When his own insecurities sabotage the affair, Annie is forced to leave Alvy for a new lifeand lover (Paul Simon)in Los Angeles. Knowing he may have lost Annie forever, Alvy's willing to go to any lengthseven driving L.A.'s freewaysto recapture the only thing that ever mattered'true love. *1977: Picture; Actress (Keaton); Director; Original Screenplay« less
Samantha B. (brown0187) from WASILLA, AK Reviewed on 5/28/2010...
This is not only essential Woody Allen, it is a film in which Allen transcended Allen. It is one of the great comedies ever made, funny, sweet, sentimental, and silly all at the same time, with winning performances by Allen and Diane Keaton. This was not a simple film, like Allen's early works, i.e., Take the Money and Run; nor more convoluted like some things like Zelig (which I loved though). It worked for the simplest of reasons...haven't we all had that one girl (or man) that got away, that, when we dream about it, seems perfect, even though she wasn't? Allen handles the angst and wistfulness with gentle humor. The film crosses Breakfast at Tiffanys with Two for the Road--but with a lighter, and very deft touch.
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Annie Hall has truly stood the test of time. And I loved it
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 05/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a confession to make. Until now, I've never seen a Woody Allen movie. Boy, I sure was a "miss out". Annie Hall, made in 1977, is a classic. Why, oh why, did I wait so long? First of all it's a story, and a very funny story at that, about a New York Jewish comedian, played by Woody Allen and his WASP girlfriend, played by Diane Keaton. It pokes fun at many social mores that we take for granted and I found myself laughing throughout. There's the New Yorker who never learns to drive, the mid-westerner who orders a pastrami sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise (which seems almost grotesque to a New Yorker like me), the pretentious movie critic, the neuroses of modern romances, and the differences between the New York and Los Angeles way of life. The film runs along at such a fast pace that there is almost no time at all between funny moments. And, to make it even better, there are some wonderful film techniques. For example, while Diane Keaton and Woody Allen are talking about photography, there are subtitles on the screen about the physical relationship that they are really thinking about. If the film were made today the phone calls would have been made on cell phones. But surprisingly, that is the only detail that might be changed. Annie Hall has really truly stood the test of time. And I loved it."
Continually rewarding, ever funny, rich and warm. Buy It!
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 04/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`Annie Hall', directed by Woody Allen and written by Allen and Marshall Brickman is eminently rewatchable, which is the one quality that makes it an excellent DVD purchase. I have seen this movie at least a half dozen times, and I am still discovering interesting things in the film. What makes this so odd to me is that the first time I saw it, after having seen `Manhattan', I really did not think it was as good as the later film.
My initially low opinion of the movie was primarily due to the numerous cinematic gimmicks harking back to his earlier, plainly less thoughtful movies. These include flashbacks to dopey teachers and classmates, almost as a parody of Jean Shepherd; subtitles showing what the characters are really thinking of one another during a conversation; a cartoon segment where Allen and the Tony Roberts character appear with the wicked witch from Snow White; speeches to the audience; and the most famous, a surprise appearance by Marshall McCluhan in a movie theatre lobby to refute a college instructor pontificating about McCluhan's ideas.
The single most famous scene from the movie is the encounter between Allen's character, Alvy Singer and Annie Hall, played brilliantly by Diane Keaton, after their tennis match with Annie dressed in her classic layered look with vest, men's tie, and balloonish trousers. The great sound bite from this encounter is the Annie Hall exclamation `La Di Dah, La Di Dah, Dah Dah...' and Singer's reaction wondering how he could be interested in anyone making such silly exclamations. From this one scene came a whole late 1970's fashion trend, the `Annie Hall' look of layered, mannish clothes. This scene also sets the stage for my latest insight into the movie, which is the progression of Annie, with a lot of help from Alvy, from an unserious girl with a decent singing voice to a serious woman with a few good ideas and a connection to a serious Hollywood music personality, played convincingly by Paul Simon with an eye to having her performances commercially recorded.
While so much can be said of the loves, frustrations, and disappointments of Alvy Singer, the movie is, after all, named `Annie Hall', not `Alvy Singer'. Not to say that this incarnation of the Woody Allen fictional persona is not central to the story. In the story of Alvy Singer that frames our encounter with Annie, there are encounters with two early marriages to characters played by Carol Kane and Janet Margolin, plus less than exciting romantic encounters with Shelley Duvall. The Allen talent for pulling in major actors and future major actors for brief appearances is in full bloom. There are excellent little parts for Colleen Dewhurst and Christopher Walken. There are even smaller parts for surprise appearances by Jeff Goldblum, Sigourney Weaver, and Beverly De'Angelis. Just as Allen is playing his usual, highly autobiographical character, male costar Tony Roberts plays the typically untroubled successful male who is constantly on the make for something or other, whether it be a business deal of a romantic laision. (It just occurred to me that it is logical that Roberts did not play the male costar in `Manhattan', as the Michael Murphy character simply did not fit the typical Tony Roberts character as it appears in `Play It Again, Sam', `A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy', and `Annie Hall'.
While I have not reviewed all of Allen's later movies, I will venture the opinion that not only is `Annie Hall' better than all the films which precede it, it is as good or better than his best later movies (such as `Hannah and Her Sisters', `Crimes and Misdemeanors', and `Husbands and Wives'), if only because it is so effective a mix of both character study and humor. Some of Allen's jokes from this movie are some of his best known. In fact, I get the same sense watching this movie as I do when I see `Hamlet'. So many lines sound like clichés because they have been so widely quoted.
There are a lot of things which could be said about this movie which are really about themes which run through almost all of Allen's films such as doting on sexuality, phony intellectuality, love of Manhattan, and death. One clever riff on death is when Annie is moving into Alvy's apartment, Alvy discovers a book of Sylvia Plath's poems, which contradicts Hall's later statement when she is moving out that all the books about death were given to her by Singer. (Plath was a famously depressive poet who committed suicide in mid-career).
Allen's movie DVDs are uniformly free of fancy extras such as commentary tracks and `Making of' documentaries, and this is no exception. At the risk of repeating myself, I will say that the singular attraction of Allen's body of work in general and `Annie Hall' in particular is its rewatchability. As unrealistic as the many cinematic gimmicks are, the characters are intensely real. They are people with which we can sincerely associate. Try that with your usual Ben Stiller character.
Highly recommended classic among both Allen movies and all movies in general. "
B. Marold | 07/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*Annie Hall* is a movie that a critic could love. Its hero, Alvy Singer (Allen), though apparently a professional comedian, is really more of a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week critic of everything he encounters: the Seventies drug culture, pretentious loudmouths, Los Angeles, WASPs from the Midwest, anti-Semites, Bob Dylan, aging hippies, and -- most important for getting on film critics' good side -- himself. (The constant cinematic references, such as *Snow White*, Fellini, Bergman, *The Sorrow and the Pity*, et al., also endear Allen to the critics . . . and to the overall movie-lover, as well.) In and around all this, the film tells the story of a mismatched relationship between neurotic, intellectual New Yorker Alvy and Wisconsin transplant Annie Hall (Diane Keaton, in an excellent performance). The details of the relationship are delineated with aching realism: the tentative getting-to-know-you stage, the petulant break-ups, the warm making-ups, the mundanities (like getting rid of spiders in bathtubs), the arguments, the hilarious private moments that can't be repeated with anyone else (like their attempt to cook some lobsters), the boredom, and finally the wearing-out of the whole thing. This is all superbly done . . . but even better are Allen's incessant, razor-sharp wisecracks that put the America of 1977 firmly in its self-obsessed place. For instance, his take on the Studio 54 culture that was happening in New York is summed up in a sneeze . . . that blows thousands of dollars of cocaine airily away. The West Coast nonsense is perhaps best captured in the snapshot scene of Jeff Goldblum on the phone: "I forgot my mantra." And Allen's jokes about turning right at a red light in California, and masturbation being sex with someone he loves, have permanently entered our language. Instead of dating the film, these observations make it more of a humorous time-capsule full of the detritus of a silly era. The restlessly inventive narrative structure that uses split-screen, flashbacks, scenes that have one character as both child and adult at the same time, even animation, is gravy on your mashed potatoes."
Because we need the eggs
Michael LaPointe | Orange County, California | 07/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, let me get this one thing out of the way: when I was 12, Annie Hall beat Star Wars for the Best Picture Academy Award, and I was not a happy kid. However, time can do funny things...I first saw this picture a few years later, with my first real girlfriend (hi, Lisa!) on the revival circuit. I found it witty and intelligent, as I have with most of Woody Allen's films. I have to say that, to my 16-year-old mind, it still didn't make a huge impression. Twenty years and a failed marriage later, however, I think I can honestly say that I now get it. Annie Hall is, to me, Woody Allen's greatest triumph as a filmmaker and a storyteller. It's a bittersweet, often hilarious recounting of a relationship from its start to its inevitable end. We see Allen at his most honest, at times brutal examination of himself and his destructive approach to relationships as he plays Alvy Singer, a funny, neurotic comedian (not a great stretch for Woody, granted). All the angst, the neuroses, and manic phobias that at first seem so idiosyncratic and charming, eventually become tiring and sad. Here is a man who is so attached to his psychoses that he would be an empty shell without them, and we see the painful fact of this in his reflections of previous relationships and marriages throughout the course of his adult life. Ultimately, this is a character so galvanized by his fears and phobias that he is simply incapable of managing a complex adult relationship, one free of paranoia and anxiety and this is his tragic downfall. In short, he is a small child trapped in the body of a small man. This is not, however, one of Allen's Bergmanesque forays into introspection. The knee-slapping hilarity of many of the scenes help draw us into his world and the relationship he has with Annie (Diane Keaton, marvelous as always), his friends, his family, and the world around him. A particular favorite is when, on their first meeting, Alvy and Annie exchange basic getting-to-know-you small talk, and their hidden meanings and anxieties are shown to us in subtitles. Other scenes involving a movie-line blowhard, a lost mantra, and Annie's decidedly white-bread family are the stuff of legend, and they never fail to bring a smile to my face. Though this film is nearing thirty-years old, it shows no sign of aging. The themes are familiar and universal; who hasn't fallen desperately in love, only to feel the painful tentacles of fear come creeping in the moment they've opened their heart for all the world to see? This film will never lose its place in my heart as one of the best films I've ever seen."
Love and loss in Manhattan.
darragh o'donoghue | 11/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Annie Hall' has been called the first modern romantic comedy, but it is actually the ultimate anti-romantic comedy. Where the movement of the classic rom-com is the union of two mismatched lovers, the kiss, marriage - a forward movement which is' in effect' sexual sublimation - 'Annie Hall' begins with its romance's break-up, and proceeds with a vignette narrative structure, in which time and space are fragmented: far from gathering any momentum, the film, with is modest highs and lows, kind of peters out, just like romance in real-life.'Annie Hall' is, as everyone knows, the first truly great Woody Allen movie. All the cherishable elements from his previous films are here - the nervy wisecracks (which, far from containing life's anguish, seem to helplessly acknowledge the impossibility of ever doing so); the visual and narrative trickery; the flippant allusions etc. - but are given depth and feeling by the focus on character. The opening monologue sets the tone - Alvy's stand-up routine (an address to the public) as confession (private): this is a relationship constantly being pushed into social situations (family, parties, night classes etc.). The movements through time and space, the documentary feel for real locations, the recognition of the emotional import of seemingly trivial events, all combine to create a complex picture of people alive and in love in a particular place and time. In the case of Alvy especially, these elements serve to reveal the character his joking is at pains to deflect. The film is the closest American film every came to the spontaneity of the French New Wave, without being cripplingly self-conscious about it - the inventive chopping between visual registers and narrative moods; the romanticising of city life; the seemingly casual, but crucial and resonant, allusions to films, books, music etc.; the satire of cultural pretensions; above all, the very modern, elusive relationship at its centre - all creating a film as fresh, funny and poignant as the day it was made, one done a great disservice by its sappy imitators. Diane Keaton has rarely been more enchanting, the fluidity between herself and her character so evident, she seems to be laughing with us at the film she's in."