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Annie Hall

Review Written by: Chris Burns
Film Rating: A+

Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by: Woody Allen and Marhsall Brickman
Produced by: Charles Joffe and Jack Rollins
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Paul Simon, Carol Kane, Shelley Duvall, Mordecai Lawner, Christopher Walken, Janet Margolin, Joan Neuman
Studio: United Artists

Revisiting Annie Hall is like meeting up with a friend you have not seen in years, it really is that personal. I find it hard to comprehend as to how anyone could not find some sort of connection with the film's honesty. The film's bond with its viewer is quite possibly the key basis as to why the film is so globally admired, as it is a film which both men and women can relate to. Not only this, but Annie Hall offers the viewer the idea that they are not alone in their disillusion of love and that it is human nature for the majority of love to quite literally fade away with time.

Annie Hall is another bittersweet, charming and identifiable tale of romance, but from Woody Allen's cynical point of view. Set in New York, Woody Allen is arguably performing as himself, a neurotic comedian named Alvy Singer, who is struggling to balance his love life, while tackling his own self-reservations and negative outlooks on life. The film charts his erratic lifestyle by looking at his experiences, exaggerating them and attempting to understand where he went wrong. Woody Allen accomplishes all this through hysterically unique narrative-cuts, including questioning the viewer and showing his urge to of spoken his mind in a particular situation.

Annie Hall is both a bleak film, while also being an oddly uplifting one and a film which I find considerably therapeutic. Bursting with intellect and philosophy, Annie Hall remains Woody Allen's definitive masterpiece, the film which defines both him and his career. The film's beauty is in the eye of the beholder and although there is a fair amount of bleak cinematography there is still no denying the beauty that lies in the film's final montage. The charming sequence defines everything Woody Allen wanted to say about life and how everything is a series of frantic events.

Annie Hall is widely regarded for possessing one of the finest scripts of all-time and rightly so. Few scripts burst with such a fierce amount of fiery, sharp humour and cultural knowledge. Using devastating heart-break to side-splitting one-liners, the film continuously succeeds in letting each actor and actress deliver their line with perfect comedic essence. Flowing with misery and negativities the script feels so true to its form. Mixing tragedy with humour is a technique Woody Allen has mastered. The brutal honesty is highly effective as it sufficiently represents moments that we all go through in life. The script's use of sexual irony and sexual innuendo is apparent in almost every scene, delightfully representing both genders' outlook on sex. The script pontificates over its characters, which are all flawed in some way, yet all so delightfully charismatic. Rather than being a one-track, simple-minded comedy, Annie Hall develops its themes, rather than carelessly glossing over them.

In Annie Hall the actors and actresses do not look glamorous, or even close to Hollywood stars. They look natural and that is what helps the film slide away from being the clichéd American romance. It is actually a method which enables the film to become a symbol of the average person's life. Not only this, but the narrative is presented in a revolutionary manner, altering the average occurrence (such as a dinner party) into a study of a person's physical gestures, this is a way of representing what a person is thinking. Woody Allen is offering the viewer a psychological analysis of the lives we live. Woody Allen uses time as a method of gaining a perspective of the events in Alvy Singer's love-life. Even when the narrative is told in a non-linear style the film still pieces itself together through editing, hence the film is not chaotic, but the romance is. The disconnected editing and transitions actually help to embody the sporadic and nervous relationship, while seemingly portraying the varied speed and detachment our lives move at.

The performances all help to make Annie Hall the film it is today, Diane Keaton and Woody Allen have perfect chemistry and both create emotional parallels for their characters. To add to the organic experience of Annie Hall, all the stutters, unfinished sentences, delayed responses and mispronounced words are used during conversation. Do not forget to look out for the variety of small, yet highly amusing cameos from some of America's most famous actors and actresses.

Suffice to say, Allen's awkward humour is an acquired taste and I would recommend it being a necessity to become familiar with his work before being able to appreciate Annie Hall to its best extent. To some, the humour is subtle; to others, it is openly hysterical. Although, the one thing everyone can agree on is the film's innovation, even if you do refuse to believe that love does not prevail. But really, Woody Allen is aware that Annie Hall is funny because everything about it is all so true and he can see the humour behind his own unhappiness.

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen up on the rooftop in Annie Hall.
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