Best Picture Winners. Movie #112: Annie Hall (1977)

From now until Oscar Sunday I will be reviewing Best Picture winners. Enjoy!

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall, Janet Margolin, Colleen Dewhurst, Christopher Walken

Academy Awards (1978):

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Diane Keaton

Best Director: Woody Allen

Best Picture: Charles H. Joffe

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman

Academy Award Nominations:

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Woody Allen

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Annie Hall is a comical look at the up and down relationship between a New York City TV writer and his aspiring actress/singer girlfriend who’s originally from the Midwest. (from RottenTomatoes.com)

Considered one of Woody Allen’s best movies, Annie Hall was an intriguing film that I went into without any expectations.  It is still the only Woody Allen movie I’ve watched, so I don’t have anything else to compare it to as far as his directing, writing, and producing style. It is a different kind of film, and after watching it a second time I understand its appeal.  Personally, I wasn’t all that crazy about it.

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The main issue I have with Annie Hall is that Allen’s character Alvy Singer is essentially a bantering narcissist who carries on for an hour and a half.  It was a tough film for me to watch because it just seemed to drag on and on.  Forty-five minutes felt like an hour and a half.  I enjoy movies that are primarily dialogue-driven, but when one person dominates the film the way Allen does, it’s just too much for me.

Though Annie Hall has it’s faults, Allen does a great job directing and pushing the directing envelope. I do like how Allen incorporates breaking the fourth wall throughout the film.  After Alvy and Annie break up, I like how he is both talking to the audience and engaging people who are walking down the street.  To his credit, Allen makes these transitions and fourth wall lines flow seamlessly within the film’s story.  The grade school classroom scene and dinner with Annie’s family were two scenes where this was best incorporated.

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Having not seen any other Woody Allen films, Allen’s pairing with Diane Keaton seems, well, odd to say the least.  Allen wrote Annie’s character with Keaton in mind.  It will be interesting to watch some of their other collaborations.

Annie Hall is a unique film that has received wide acclaim.  Though it wasn’t my favorite to watch, I can appreciate its unique feel and look.  I feel like I could watch this again after watching some of Allen’s other films and have a better understanding.  It’s certainly not a top priority, but it is something I’ll get to eventually.

Decent film, just not my type of film, for now.

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars.

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