“ANNIE HALL” is not a film entirely about Annie. The film is about Alvy Singer, a man in his forties and after failing two marriages, he is already up for one.
What’s so great about Alvy Singer?
Not so much. He is not entirely handsome but, yes, you might find him attractive. He has a self-centered personality, and a bit talkative about psychoanalysis, which I find doubtful since he keeps talking about this theories that somehow just pulled random out of his sleeves. (All I know about psychoanalysis is that it came from Freud and all about Freud is that sex is an essential part of life.) He is not tall. He doesn’t have a great personality but, I won’t deny it, he is funny. He is also too rational. One more thing, he is played by Woody Allen.
Annie Hall, on the other hand, is a beautiful, submissive woman and, like Allen, has humor. Allen meets her while playing tennis, and from then on they keep striking on wits.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I reckon “Annie Hall” started the idea of talking directly to camera. This film breaks the traditional narrative, where actors are just speaking to each other. Every now and then, Singer directly talks to the camera, facing the camera, eyes on the camera, and speaks to us. For instance, when Singer dines with the Hall family, he provides a commentary to Annie’s grandmother: “The old lady in the table is a classic Jew hater.” And later in the same scene, there is a parallel intercut between Hall’s and Singer’s family, like having a conversation but actually they are not.
Another thing is that when Singer recalls his memories they visit them, together with Annie, and watches the scene as if they were really there. One point worth mentioning is that the film does not have a pyramid plot model, by that I mean the events that happen are not extraordinary; we are just taken on what is a day with Alvy Singer. Obviously, it does not contain any definitive climax. We are just given a brief realization about love from Singer’s acquaintancet with Hall.
“Annie Hall” was originally planned as a murder mystery with a romance subplot, later on it became a full-pledged romance, which I thought fell short. I don’t know how would Woody Allen take care of suspense genre and I’m quite curios myself. The name of film, which took more than a decade to materialize, is “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” also starred by Diane Keaton and Woody Allen.
Even though it’s critical success, bagging Best Picture and influence many film makers to just tell a story, not to worry, be your self, Allen didn’t approved a sequel. He thought it’s just another way to make money, and not really an essential element in the story. Who would have thought there is a person who will value art over business?
Let’s put it bluntly, “Annie Hall” is not an exciting romantic comedy, it is not compelling at all to watch. At 30 minutes past, I have this feeling that it is already too long. Why is that so? Let’s just say the characters of Annie and Alvy are, for the lack of better word, not that lovable.
On the bright side, they are funny and the film can be a good reference onAmerica’s love in 1970’s. This can also be a good case study to independent filmmaker who opts for a one-camera set up. Through out the film, Woody Alllen shows his scenes in master shots. Sometimes they are no cut away, just master shots moving around and characters moving around. I think that was brilliant, well it surely requires a one-take effort.