60/60 Review #15: Annie Hall.

I've had only one other experience with Woody Allen--Match Point--and I seriously hated that movie. So I was a bit nervous going into this. As for this film, besides it being like... the ultimate rom-com (in more of the classic sense, not today's definition), I didn't know all that much about it. Well, it's about a dude named Alvy (Woody Allen) and his relationship with a woman named Annie (Diane Keaton). That's basically it. There's not really much of a plot outside just... his life.

And I loved every minute of it. Most of you know I'm a sucker for anything meta. This movie has him breaking the fourth wall; it has him talking to nothing, background characters as if they should know the entire plot and what's going on; it has them showing what-if situations in the middle of what's actually going on; it has them walking into flashbacks and commentating on the past events; and more. This film played to my heart and was right up my alley.

It has amazing dialogue/writing. It's very quick and very sharp witted and very smart, but that's pretty much what Woody Allen is known for (and which was completely absent from Match Point). There are so many moments to love that I can't even start to name them all. The one that keeps sticking out to me is earlier on in the movie theater where the patron behind him is going on about films loudly, and you can see Alvy's getting annoyed, and he eventually stops and walks up to talk to the audience at the camera. But then the guy walks up and joins him. And then they walk to the side and pull the guy they're arguing about out of nowhere, only so Alvy can make a comment like "don't you wish it could be like this?" There were so many fun moments, and that's only one of them.

The acting was of course top notch. I didn't even recognize Diane Keaton as I'm used to how she looks now, but she was very good. Woody Allen was great, as well. There are so many short bits with good actors that I wish could have been longer; Carol Kane, for instance. But I can't get onto this subject without mentioning the completely random appearance by Christopher Walken. I'd heard about this random moment a long time ago, but I'd completely forgotten about it by this point until he showed up and I was like "WTF?" It's out of left field, but it's bizarrely funny. Also, unless I'm just crazy, I'm pretty sure I saw Jeff Goldblum for like... 3 seconds.

During the film, one of the things that kept popping into my head--for whatever reason--was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I couldn't stop comparing the two. This, of course, led me to thinking about remakes. Could you imagine Michel Gondry remaking this film with Jesse Eisenberg and Rooney Mara? Now that'd be interesting. I dunno how much charm it would have, and I doubt it would match up to the original, but it would still be interesting.

Anyway, there's not a whole lot else to say. If I had a negative, it would be that I started to feel a drag around the hour mark, but it didn't bother me all that much. I still loved the film--mostly thanks to its clever writing and meta sensibilities. If you like that kind of thing, definitely check this movie out. It's well made, and while it's not laugh-out-loud funny (at least to me), it's pretty dang amusing through and through.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese


  1. I dug this, but not as much as you, apparently.

    I don't recall thinking of ESOTSM once, though. Have you not seen When Harry Met Sally? THAT is the film that totally remade this one.

    Way to stir up the nutters, though - the thought of a true Annie Hall remake would probably make some people shit their pants.

  2. The reason I kept thinking of Eternal Sunshine was due to all the times, for instance, when they would show memories and then have them walking through and witnessing them and commentating. There was even a time, very early on, when Alvy is a boy in school and the adult Alvy takes a seat in his younger version's desk and speaks with his old classmates and teacher (as well as the younger version of himself). And then, of course, the theme that some relationships just don't work out, even if you try more than once. And on top of all that, there were references to poetry, and there was even the voice-over narration explaining what he was thinking at the time or how he was feeling.

    I've seen bits and pieces of When Harry Met Sally.

    As for stirring up the nutters... I try :P .

  3. I loved this one as well, but then again I'm a massive Woody Allen fan, well a fan of his old films anyway, I try to avoid his recent work and I'm generally successful...

    Anyway, great review for a great film!
    I really hope they don't remake this, because that would probably lead to remakes of other 70's classics and then we'd end up with a Taxi Driver remake or even a Godfather remake... or maybe I'm exaggerating a bit.

    Oh yeah, and Jeff Goldblum completely surprised me, I actually had to rewind and make sure it was actually him... That happens often in Allen's films.

  4. Nick, you have no idea how happy this post makes me.

  5. Nick, it is an incredible film - and justly one of Woody's finest. It was after watching this and MANHATTAN that I became obsessed with Woody Allen and have hunted down a huge chunk of his back-catalogue, with inetntions to see his latest films on release. Its great to read up on him too because he has some brilliant ifnluences and ideas about art and what truly defines art. CONVERSATIONS WITH WOODY ALLEN By Eric Lax is worth hunting down.


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