Annie Hall (1977)

Annie Hall (1977) movie poster

director Woody Allen
viewed: 04/25/2014

This is definitely a case of “You’ve never seen ….!” for me.  Nope, until now, I’d never seen Annie Hall, Woody Allen’s most famous and oft-considered best film.  It’s even his sole Oscar winner for Best Picture.

Annie Hall kind of crystallized the Woody Allen movie.  It’s the peak of his fecund first decade of movie-making, a still somewhat “on the fly” aggregation of styles that reminded me of his earlier film Take the Money and Run (1969), a little more scatter-shot in approach.  It features characters addressing the audience, subtitled translations of thoughts, and even animation at one point.  Somewhere along the way, Allen abandoned these types of conceits and went for more straight-forward film-making.

The funny thing about watching Annie Hall today is how much an artifact of the time it has become.  Diane Keaton’s style had a significant effect back in 1977, and its still very much of her character here, but it’s an artifact now.  The “Jewishness” of the identity of Allen’s character Arty in the film seems somewhat archaic today as well, though at the time, it may have captured an essence of the “self” or even an outwardness of such identity.  It’s the 1970’s throughout, the “now”, the present, of the time.

Briefly reading through some criticism and analysis of the film, definitely suggests that there is a lot to it, especially if one cares to dig.  I am not of that particular mind today.  Rather I’ll just say that I enjoyed the film.  It certainly has some funny moments, lines, bits.  It has some that seem less interesting and timeless, maybe more skit-like.  I was struck, what with Allen’s Alvy being a stand-up comic, how much a show like Seinfeld owed to this film and conceit.  It’s definitely hard to remember the days when Allen did stand up, isn’t it?

It’s funny that I’d just never seen Annie Hall until now.  That’s why I’m working my way through such notable films that I’ve never seen, I suppose.  So that I don’t have to say that anymore.

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