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Annie Hall (1977)

April 13, 2007
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Woody Allen’s, 1977 flick “Annie Hall” is one of the few romantic comedy movies that carefully traverses between relationships and feelings for others without much of goofy/slapstick humour….it’s very clever, the one which would make you smile for a long time. This Academy award winner comes in quite as a surprise right from the word go….especially the pace at which the dialogues are spoken. After adjusting your listening capabilities to the main protoganist, Alvy Singer (played by Woody Allen himself)…the dialogues from there on are so cleverly written that you wouldn’t wanna miss anything. Here’s a sample of some dialouges from the movie…

Mom: He’s been depressed. – Suddenly he can’t do anything.
Doctor: Why are you depressed, Alvy?
Something he read, huh?

Alvy:The universe is expanding.
The universe is everything, and if it’s expanding…someday it will break apart,
and that will be the end of everything.

In another scene….

Girl: He kissed me!
Teacher: That’s the second time this month! Step up here.
Alvy: What did l do?
Teacher: You should be ashamed of yourself.
Alvy: Why? l was just expressing a healthy sexual curiosity.
Teacher: Six-year-old boys don’t have girls on their minds.
Alvy: l did.
Girl: For God sakes, Alvy, even Freud speaks of a latency period!

Another scene…Alvy is talking to his girlfriend Annie (Deane Keaton)

Alvy: You’re having an affair with your college professor! That jerk that teaches that crap course, “Contemporary Crisis in Western Man.”
Annie: “Existential Motifs in Russian Literature.” You’re really close.
Alvy: What’s the difference . lt’s all mental masturbation.
Annie: Now we’re getting to a subject you know something about.
Alvy: Don’t knock masturbation. lt’s sex with someone l love.

“Annie Hall” is the story of Alvy and Annie who stay in New York….of how they meet and fall in love. And thereafter how their interests affect their relationships. After some months of on and off relationships, they realise that they still love each other…but one day after Annie’s performance in a club, oppurtunity comes knocking at her door when some chap from a California’s label company offers to record her voice for an album…so, Alvy and Annie go to Cali…Annie decides later that, she should carry on with the recording inspite of repeated requests by Alvy to come back to New York….Finally he comes back again to Cali after realising how sad his life is without her…but Annie refuses and insists that they can still be good friends….the film concludes with Annie moving back to New York and they meet each other and are still in good terms.

To some extent, it’s also story of obsession…obsession to drive home your point, obsession to do everything perfectly…Alvy’s portrayal of a man of 40, who has had bad relationships in the past and wants the present one to be a long affair is great. When I say great, I mean I have rarely seen a movie where someone talks so much about countless topics everytime there’s a conversation. He just talks, talks, talks and guess what…you don’t get bored of it…because he doesn’t give you time to brood over it. And that’s a good thing actually…you will know why, when you see this movie.

Another very important thing about this movie is the techniques used while filming. There are occasions where Alvy talks directly to the camera in the middle of a conversation, and scenes where Alvy is talking about his problems and thoughts and out of nowhere, he stops somebody on the road and asks them if they have a solution for it….also they transform themselves back in time to depict how life was in their childhood….

What does Allen say about relationships, ” I think relationships are totally irrational, crazy and absurd. But l guess we keep going through it…because most of us want something out of it”.

A nice movie and an interesting way of story-telling….do watch it…as Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer prize winning American Film Critic puts it….”it is Everyone’s Favourite Woody Allen’s movie”!!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Akshaya permalink
    April 13, 2007 4:38 pm

    You must read his plays, they are hilarious! Btw, good review 🙂

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