Woody at his best. So this is the story about the neurotic Alvy Singer (Woody Allen). He meets the spunky Annie Hall (Diane Keaton), and this film shows the highs and lows of their entire relationship. This film is such a gem, and it is an absolute classic. I haven’t seen the entirety of Woody Allen’s library, but I’ve seen 11 of his films. For me, personally, this is neck and neck with Manhattan, but when I pressed, I would say that Annie Hall is his very best.
If you’re at all familiar with this man’s filmography, you know how self-deprecating Woody is. Here, he gives you his mantra during the opening monologue, courtesy of Groucho Marx: “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” It really sets the tone of the film as it applies it to the relationships in his life; namely with Annie Hall, who is played fabulously by Keaton. She rightfully won the Oscar for this performance, and she plays this character so fluently, and she does it in a way where the chemistry is 100% visible right there on the screen. You know exactly where her head is at all times; I mean really, the scene where Alvy first talks to Annie after the tennis match is guaranteed to put a gigantic smile on your face and make you instantly fall in love with both of these characters. This isn’t even the most story driven movie out there. In fact, I would even go so far to say that it is very scattershot, going all over the place to show you different moments in Alvy’s life, kind of the way that Family Guy overkills it with cutaways in their show, but never to that extent.
I love the fact that Woody Allen isn’t afraid to show that he loves movies and New York, and I love that he isn’t afraid to showcase the fantasy side to his brain, either. Many a time here does he break the fourth wall and address the audience directly, which is perfectly in sync with everything else that he’s doing here. What I think has really made this film stand the test of time is the fact that there is some really sound relationship advice to be found in the script; there is wisdom to be found as Allen goes through his paranoid self-exploration, and between this and High Fidelity, I will always have two great movies that I can go to for insightful relationship advice. Keep your eyes peeled for a very young Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Walken, and get ready to watch a real game changer if you haven’t seen this already.
Annie Hall (1977) *****
– Critic for Hire