Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – Annie Hall (1977)

Starring Woody Allen & Diane Keaton

Rating 8/10

Woody Allen, you had me at the silent opening titles. Talk about a ground breaking film. For its time this was highly experimental and a little bit arty for the mainstream. Good on the folks at the Academy for selecting this film for Best Picture.

Alvy Singer (Allen) is a nervous Jewish (der) comedian looking for a better way through life and relationships. He marries twice, finding no joy in either relationship. He says (quoting Groucho Marx), “I would never want to belong to any club that would have me for a member.” This defines his relationships. They bubble and then fizz out.

His best shot at a functional relationship is with the quirky nightclub singer, Annie Hall (Keaton). She loves this weird little man, literally gushing over him when they first meet. Their quirky natures seem to click and for a while everything seems rosy. Until Hall gets a recording deal in Los Angeles. From then on things start falling apart.

The genius in this film is not in the love story but how it is told. It all begins with silent opening titles and a monologue with Singer addressing the audience. The fourth wall is constantly being shattered as Allen skilfully mixes reality with fantasy.

He uses strangers on the street to voice the conversations he has in his head. He uses subtitles to express the subtext to the audience and he uses split screens to blend dialogue. Animation is used in a surprising reference to the wicked witch in Snow White and he finds himself and his friends in flashback scenes from his childhood.

This is a film about observing relationships from afar. Singer is constantly commenting on his relationships to each partner, analysing what is going wrong or speaking his thoughts which, in reality, would take the magic out of the moment. I love his one liners like, “Darling I was killing spiders since I was 30” and “Let’s kiss now so it’s not awkward later.”

This is classic Woody Allen. Whether you like him or not this is a fascinating and clever film. It is a writer’s film. You find yourself navigating through the messy thoughts of Allen’s honest and neurotic mind. And it’s a fascinating place.

Annie Hall Trivia:

  • Budget – $4 million.
  • Diane Keaton’s real name is Diane Hall (nicknamed Annie) and before this film had a relationship with Woody Allen. They both deny it is autobiographical.
  • A lot of this film was improvised. In the script Alvy didn’t grow up in a house under a rollercoaster. But Allen saw the Kensington Hotel under the Thunderbolt ride and was inspired and the sneeze with the cocaine was an accident.
  • Originally this was to be a murder mystery but they decided to drop it and remade it much  later as Manhattan Murder Mystery in 1993.
  • Ben Stiller was inspired to make Meet the Parents after seeing the scene where Alvy meets Annie’s family.
  • The average length of scene is an impressive 14.5 seconds.
If you haven’t seen this movie, it is not to be missed. Check it out and let us know what you thought of it! Next time we’re watching The Deer Hunter starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep. Don’t miss it!

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One comment on “Best Picture – Annie Hall (1977)

  1. Beryl
    October 20, 2011

    Really clear site, thank you for this post.

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