#21. Annie Hall (1977)

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Now that another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, many of us might want a break from the lovey-dovey rom-coms that seem to dominate TV this time of year. However, I think it is always an appropriate time to watch one of the classic anti-romantic romantic comedies…one that arguably changed the roadmap for romantic comedies; one  often referred to as last “comedy” to win an Academy Award; one that blazed trails in film and fashion; one whose screenplay was voted the funniest screenplay of all time by the Writers Guild of America; one that catapulted Woody Allen’s and Diane Keaton’s careers into the stratosphere; one that is the inimitable Annie Hall.Anniehallposter

  • Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
  • Best Director: Woody Allen
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role: Diane Keaton
  • Best Picture: Charles H. Joffe

Not only did Annie Hall win 1978’s Academy Award for Best Picture, it beat Star Wars—a victory that seems unbelievable today! Woody Allen was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but lost to Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl.

Annie Hall captured audiences with its remarkable storytelling, poignant writing, dry, subtle humor and the palpable chemistry between Allen and Keaton.  Again, this is not your typical “boy meets girl” romantic comedy we’re accustomed to. In fact, it’s the obvious escape from the norm that allows Annie Hall to remain as relevant today. Annie Hall is Woody Allen’s story of the relationship between Alvy Singer (Allen) and Annie Hall (Keaton).  The viewer is introduced to Alvy—a neurotic, self-reflexive, pessimistic comedian—as  he delivers a witty monologue musing on life and love before recounting his relationship with Annie—an awkward, somewhat flighty, nightclub singer.
The first minutes of this film are brilliant in establishing the crux of Alvy’s character, and the entire tone of the movie. When Alvy reflects he and Annie are no longer a couple, we know this will not be your run-of-the-mill love story — A concept done very similarly in the film, 500 Days of Summer.

The story unfolds in a non-linear sequence, jumping to and from various moments in their relationship, as well as examining the individual pasts of both Alvy and Annie. Despite the scattered story, Allen never loses his focus, as Alvy tries to uncover the meaning of his relationship with Annie within the context of his entire life.

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In addition to being lauded as one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, Annie Hall has also made a lasting impression on the world of fashion. The boyfriend-chic, androgynous style donned by Diane Keaton in the film, sparked a trend in fashion. The menswear as womenswear look, can be attributed to Diane Keaton herself, as she wore many of her own clothes during filming.

Almost 40 years after its release, Annie Hall is still widely relevant today. In my opinion, the retrospective narrative, phenomenal writing, and emotional resonance has helped maintain the film’s significance for audiences today. This is a must-see movie for anybody in their 20s.  Annie Hall is not a fairy tale. It’s not a “they lived happily ever after” movie which is what makes it great! Not to be misunderstood, I am all for the fairy tale movies; I probably enjoy them more than most. However, now that I am an ‘adultish person,’ that extra dose of reality in a movie is refreshing. Seeing a movie that doesn’t end perfectly—nor does it end horribly—reminds me that life is not scripted. I know that seems like a pretty simple thing to need reminding of, but with all the social media bragging that happens these days, it is surprisingly easy to forget. It’s easy to get caught up in someone’s perfect social media life and feel bad about your own. That is why this movie is so important!! People and opportunities come into our lives at certain moments for a reason, it may not be great all the time, but it is the little moments of greatness that make everything worth it.

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Gaby

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