“Alvy Singer, a divorced Jewish comedian, reflects on his relationship with ex-lover Annie Hall, an aspiring nightclub singer, which ended abruptly just like his previous marriages.”

Director: Woody Allen
Writers: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Staring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
Rated: PG
Release Date: April 20, 1977

One of the best compliments a movie can receive is that the audience can feel themselves being a part of it. If you can create a world, a character, a dialogue, or a romance that lassos the audience’s attention, then you have something magical. It is a very hard tier to reach, but Annie Hall (1977) is up there on that elevated pedestal.

The screenplay of Annie Hall is one of the best ever transformed onto the screen. The character of Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) is a diabolically conceived character that is speaking truths no one wants to at times, but is also an egotistical stubborn self-absorbed asshole. Alvy Singer is Larry David before Larry David was Larry David.

Annie Hall, who is played by the stunning Diane Keaton, portrays a woman growing up in the most realistic way. She has made mistakes and she is malleable to a love interest at the start of a burgeoning relationship. Then as she begins to grow up and grow into herself, she feels herself changing and that has consequences when it comes to her love for Alvy. The ultimate irony is that Alvy pushed for Annie to go to therapy and to try and get “smarter” about deeper topics, but in doing so he made her into someone he can not control or predict.

There is a scene that hits this nail on the head.

Annie is growing into her own self and realizing what she likes, and with her expanded knowledge of herself she and Alvy are just in different places. What I took from this scene is that Alvy is in therapy, but he is there strictly to complain about life. He is not in therapy to try and better himself. Alvy enjoys therapy because there is someone paid to listen to him complain and tell him that his feelings are validated and right.

Sometimes Alvy talks to audience, and he speaks the absolute truth. Take the movie theater line scene.

I have been this asshole before. I have been the dude talking to someone trying to explain something that I really know nothing about. Sure, one can be Annie and shut it all out, but sometimes all you want to do is vent and tell someone to shut the fuck up. In this breaking of the fourth wall, Alvy takes it to the next level and shoves the professor in front of the actual director. Humbling someone to this degree has to be satisfying, so Alvy was probably rock hard with himself for reaching the peak of pettiness.

Annie Hall won four academy awards at the 1978 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director and best Original Screenplay. The only nomination that was not a winner was Woody Allen in Best Actor. He lost out to Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl (1977), which I have not seen.

Random fun fact, did you know that Alec Guinness was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). I did not know that. Hope you learned something new today.

Stepping back into Annie Hall, this script is really close to fucking perfect. It feels like real life because it based a lot off of real life. Woody Allen is a comedian. Diane Keaton is a singer…and here real last name is Hall…and her nickname was Annie.

And sometimes the real-world of filming lends to real moments in the movie. Supposedly Alvy’s sneeze into the cocaine was not planned and was actually an accident. That is an iconic moment scene in many of the “best of comedy scenes” compilations, and somehow it also fits into the characters persona perfectly. Cocaine was the rage of the time, and Alvy simply scoffs at it and literally blows it up in front of everyone. He can not be part of the popular thing happening, even if the one he loves is falling toward the trends of the time.

Annie Hall is really, really, really good. I wish that it was not made by a man who is banished by Hollywood. Woody Allen has a lot of controversy trailing him wherever he goes, and that baggage takes away from the successes he has in his filmmaking career.

This is kind of like a Tár (2022) but in real life. Stay with me. You have a artistic genius who is revered by everyone, but behind her talented visage is someone who has evil traits and has committed heinous traits. What you do when someone who is one of the best in the industry does unforgivable things? How do people react?

All one can do from my position is take Annie Hall for what it is; it is a fantastic movie made by someone not so fantastic. Appreciate it for the comedic genius it is, but be sure not to laugh at any of the allegations connected with the film’s writer, director, and star.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

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