55. Annie Hall (1977)

The stuff of romance

Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts

Romantic comedy – the name of the genre itself seems pretty self-explanatory in terms of what audiences should expect from films within this category. Unfortunately, there are stacks of crude examples that fill the shelves of our video stores, constantly going straight to DVD with your recycled Hollywood stars and conventional plotlines, failing to deliver any romance or comedy. Annie Hall, on the other hand, proves that the genre had its glory days in the past as Woody Allen’s neurotic sense of humour and Diane Keaton’s beauty come together in something so much more moving and real than anything we might have seen recently in the rom-com genre.

Alvy Singer (Allen) is a Jewish New York comedian who has had his fair share of faulty romances, family issues and self-conscious bouts of anxiety that include a paranoid awareness of anti-Semitism everywhere he goes. But when he strikes up a relationship with Annie (Keaton), he imaginatively contemplates how he came to fall in love with her so deeply and how she has left such a big impression on his life.

Romance and comedy actually exist in this romantic comedy

The creative way in which this film deals with the niggling annoyances, the moments of blind fun and the sheer comical beauty of love are embedded in the very direction of the film and the performances by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. The wordy conversations and monologues are balanced by moments of loneliness and sadness that come from our own understanding of what it feels to lose a good friend or lover who almost becomes a slice of your life.

Throughout Annie Hall, there is this sense of honesty and upfront manner behind Alvy’s storytelling that makes the film thoroughly enjoyable, despite its seeming self-absorbed tendencies. This movie will seduce you, make you fall in love and then leave you feeling a little sad that it finished.


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