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Allen's best, and one of the best films ever.
polystyreneman6417 March 2003
The film that bested Star Wars for the 1977 Best Picture Oscar, Annie Hall is a remarkable achievement in filmmaking that transcends its simple, romantic premise to create a stunning portrait of not only 70's pop culture, but of human nature cumulative. Directed and co-written by Woody Allen, who has since directed other gems such as Hannah and Her Sisters and The Purple Rose of Cairo, Annie Hall also stars Allen as Alvy Singer, a neurotic, death-obsessed comedian who seems unlucky in love and life. That is until he meets Annie, brilliantly played by Diane Keaton, who is beautiful, fashion-savvy, carefree (she likes using expressions like `la di da'), and a terrible driver.

Annie and Alvy's relationship is an unlikely one. She's a Midwestern girl, straight out of white-bread Wisconsin; he's a life-long New York Jew who grew up (literally) under the Coney Island roller coaster. He's been seeing a therapist for the past 16 years; she only `needs' one once she meets him. She's an extroverted aspiring singer; he's an introverted, world-despising imp. Yet Allen and Keaton are so perfect in their roles, they improbably make this couple one of the most memorable ever.

The plot revolves around Alvy's chronicles of loves lost and a retrospective on his relationship with Annie, with whom he has since parted ways. At the end of the film, we see Alvy try his hand at stage-writing-he writes a play about his relationship with Annie, but gives it a happy ending. Yes, Annie and Alvy don't have a fairy tale ending to their relationship, but Alvy certainly wishes they had, even though he learns to live with the acknowledgment it has failed.

The best part of Annie Hall is its incredible screenplay-the best ever to be written. Not a word is wasted nor a line unquotable. Except here, while Allen's early films had thrived on streams of one-liners, Allen doesn't go for cheap laughs-each line is simultaneously hilarious and poignant. Everything is part of a greater whole. We laugh because it's funny, but there's a greater dynamic at work in Annie Hall. This is a story not exclusively about a relationship between two people, but also a musing on 70's politics, drugs, East Coast/West Coast rivalry, narcissism, religion, celebrity, and several other topics with which Allen deals with extraordinary ease.

Yet Annie Hall would not be among my favorite films of all-time if it were just Woody Allen ranting and raving about what he likes and dislikes. There are other Allen films that serve that purpose, i.e. Deconstructing Harry, and they're not nearly as good. What separates Annie Hall is its grace, the believable chemistry between Keaton and Allen, the unique direction (ranging from split-screens to cartoon imagery to on-screen subtitles of what the actors are thinking), but mostly because it's the rare film to find a perfect balance between sheer entertainment, humor, and poignancy.

When the dust had settled, Diane Keaton deservedly won an Academy Award for her performance, Allen took home Oscars for direction and writing, and the film beat out Star Wars for Best Picture, which most people consider a complete sham. Evidently, those people didn't see Annie Hall, for if they had, they'd recognize that the acting, writing, and even the direction in Star Wars can't hold a candle to Annie Hall, one of the best films ever made.

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A perfect romantic comedy
FilmOtaku16 May 2004
`Annie Hall', long thought to be Woody Allen's opus, is perhaps a perfect romantic comedy because it not only shows the happy, touching moments of relationships, but also displays the reality of coupling – the occasional waning of interest in one another, the hypercritical moments, etc. It is absolutely brilliantly written; Woody Allen exhibits his usual dry humor and self-deprecation, but also his sensitive, passionate and romantic side. It was because of this film that I fell in love with Woody Allen at the age of twelve (take your cheap shot here) and almost twenty years later he still is that intellectual, bookish and humorous ideal. Diane Keaton was his muse and co-star for this film, and they are perfect counterparts – so much so that their interaction onscreen doesn't seem like viewing two actors in a film, but is a much more voyeuristic experience. Watching `Annie Hall' is like sitting at a bistro table and observing another couple a few tables away, and that is just one of the elements that make this film so endearing. Most people can relate to at least some aspects of Alvy and Annie's relationship, which helps make this film a timeless one.

However, `Annie Hall' is not just a good romantic comedy; it is a film that engages some unusual storytelling techniques. Actors speak directly to the audience, characters interact with strangers on the street who just happen to know the answers to the personal questions posed, there is a brief animation scene, etc. While none of these approaches were new in 1977, their execution was inspired. `Annie Hall' is like a fond memory, or a favorite old song – anytime I have discussed this film with others their smiling expressions are usually tinged with a hint of nostalgia, because one can look back on either their past or current relationship and do what precious few films allow us to do – relate on a personal level.

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Landmark Storytelling from Allen's Creative Mind
nycritic23 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
At the time, no one had done this: tell a story in the manner that Woody Allen did. Even though many films up until then were talky, with minimal action, with the exception of CITIZEN KANE, nothing of the sort prepared the audience at the time for what they were witnessing: scenes that introduced dialog between two actors much before they actually showed on screen. Scenes in which actors interacted with the past as if it were the present. Scenes in which actors who aren't in the same frame even when they are on screen talk to each other. Scenes in which what the characters are saying does not match their thought bubbles and we are privy to their thoughts. The discussion of an intellectual's work which suddenly produces the said individual, among many more.

ANNIE HALL is a unique film that still looks fresh, even when the style in itself is very 70s. This is a story of a breakup told in a non-linear pattern, showing how these two disparate yet similar people -- Alvy Singer and Annie Hall -- came together, shared their neuroses, went through hilarious times and then went into the slow plateau that became their eventual separation. This is not the kind of story that Hollywood likes to tell and it's quite admirable that Allen was able to not only get away with it but to walk away with the major awards (as well as give then girlfriend Diane Keaton her own Best Actress award) because this being such an intellectual film and not one where the actors all look glamorous, it broke new grounds for a novel way of presenting a film.

Groundbreaking is the definite term here. Had there been no ANNIE HALL, there would have never been ALLY MACBEAL or SEX AND THE CITY, two successful sitcoms that features inner dialog, people talking directly to the camera (and therefore winking at the audience), fantasy sequences, and modern views of how people react to each other. Balancing slapstick with drama, it is also one of the saddest comedies to ever been made and anyone who has seen the final sequence -- which plays out what the film has mentioned all along, that this is their breakup -- knows the heartbreak that unfolds over Diane Keaton's haunting vocals. One of the ten most influential movies of all time.
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I Forgot My Mantra....
WriterDave12 February 2006
Woody Allen's seminal 1977 romantic comedy "Annie Hall" is not only laugh-out-loud funny (with some of the most quotable dialogue ever written for the screen...this is the "Casablanca" of comedies, folks) but also sweet and charming (due in large part because of Diane Keaton's smashing performance as the title character, the flighty singer from Wisconsin with a quirky fashion sense and "neat" outlook on life) without ever turning trite or sappy like so many romantic comedies tend to do. Allen wisely deconstructed the genre with his non-linear story-line (something that was later done to even greater effect with a more recent and profound look at relationships, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") and charming little theatrical tricks like talking to the audience or pulling extras into the scene for their opinions on what's been going on. It keeps the viewer off guard and allows for a free flow of comedic and philosophical ideas that might otherwise not have found their way into a more traditional film.

In his latter years, Allen's best work has been when he is not part of the cast (my personal favorites being "Bulletts over Broadway," "Sweet and Lowdown," and the recent "Match Point"). "Annie Hall" was made in his heyday when he could still pull off playing a neurotic New York Jewish comedienne with charm and panache. There's something innocent and benign about his obsessions here, as this was long before the Woody/Soon-Yi fiasco and the days of grossly miscasting himself against younger female co-stars. Yes, Mr. Allen has been artsier (witness "Manhattan") and more satirical (witness "Zelig") but here, with Diane Keaton as his muse, he was never more charming or funnier.
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A wonderfully modern romance
BratBoy-222 February 2000
Woody Allen's masterpiece will always be "Annie Hall." What is most remarkable today about this film is the way Allen presents it. It's a movie about a relationship. But rather than taking a linear approach, Allen plays with time. We see the middle, the begining, and the end. And not always in that order. Allen also breaks the fourth wall a lot and has many dream sequences and asides which add to the complexity of the characters. This is a highly autobiographical film and Allen pulls no punches. This movie is not about romance in the way that "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is. Rather, "Annie Hall" is a deconstruction of a romance. At times it is funny and heartbreaking and always classic. "Love fades," indeed.
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A masterpiece, when you think about it
IkuharaKunihiko27 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes I wish Woody Allen was cool and self confident, and not always nervous, unsure and geeky all the time. But you can't deny that he's a very intelligent person. His best film, the quiet and understated masterpiece "Annie Hall", is so full of jokes and inventive style it can make your head spin. Actually, this is one film I wish I had a script of so I could slowly read all those dialogs which are being said too fast. In 1978 "Annie Hall" beat "Star Wars" and won 4 Oscars ( Best picture, director, screenplay, actress Diane Keaton ) and one Golden Globe ( Best actress Diane Keaton ).


The simple comedy about a romance between the New York comedian Alvy and Annie is enriched by tons of emotions and inventive film techniques which even Jean-Luc Godard would be jealous of. In one scene Alvy is talking to Annie about art while the subtitles are presenting his *real* words, about how he wants to take her out! In the other they are having intercourse in bed while Annie's ghost/mind is absent and sitting on a chair! Alvy is walking down the street and saying how he watched the animated movie "Snow White and the seven dwarfs" and fell in love with the witch and presto, in the next scene he is drawn in animation in the middle of that film, having an argument with his lover, the witch. The list goes on and on.

I remember that I couldn't watch this film when I was a kid. I found it to be too boring. But today I completely understand it. You just have to think about it. Like when Alvy is so happy he says to Annie that he doesn't just love her, but that he "luurves her, loaves her and luuf's her." Also, some of the gags are simply quietly hilarious, like when the hero is narrating his society as a child, commenting on everything ( "Those who don't know nothing, teach. Those who don't know how to teach, teach gym. And those don't know even that, teach at our school." ).

Grade: 10/10
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"That was the most fun I've ever had without laughing"
ackstasis7 June 2008
Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) is something of a hopeless romantic. A cynical, death-obsessed New York Jewish comedian, Singer has never been able to maintain a steady relationship with a woman. He has been married twice, and divorced twice. He broke up with one woman because of their disagreements over the "second shooter" conspiracy of John F. Kennedy's assassination, or perhaps that was just his excuse. To paraphrase Freud, possibly Groucho Marx, he simply "would never want to belong to any club that would accept someone like him for a member." He doesn't drive because he is paranoid about driving; he has been seeing a psychiatrist for the past fifteen years, though these appointments were long ago reduced to simple "whining" sessions. There is an inherent uncertainty in everything that Singer says – as though he really knows what he's talking about, but he can't convince himself that he's got it right.

When he accompanies a friend (Tony Roberts) to a tennis game, Singer's first and foremost concern is that the club will deny him entry because he's a Jew. However, that fateful game serves forth something so much more significant and life-changing – he comes to meet the ditsy and exuberant Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Despite clearly having very little in common, something clicks between the two eligibles, and they embark on a tumultuous years-long relationship that will inevitably fail to materialise into anything further. Erupting with clever dialogue and witty cultural references, 'Annie Hall's' script is one of the best you'll ever see. Not only is the conversation entertaining to listen to, but – even with all the talking to the camera and interacting with random extras – it actually manages to seem startlingly realistic. This is no small thanks, of course, to the main actors, who embody their characters so perfectly that we're unsure if they are acting or merely playing themselves.

Though he had previously released a few well-received, light-hearted affairs, it was 'Annie Hall' that blasted writer/actor/director Woody Allen into the realms of super-stardom. In an uncharacteristic move for the Academy, Allen's film won four 1978 Oscars, including Best Actress (Keaton), Best Original Screenplay (Allen, Marshall Brickman), Best Director (Allen) and Best Picture – not undeservedly, though millions of 'Star Wars' fans would, I'm sure, disagree. Having revisited 'Annie Hall' for the first time in a year, having since enjoyed many of Allen's other films, I am genuinely amazed at his transition from silly comedian to insightful observer on human relationships. Of course, a noticeable evolution in his film-making style is evident in both the science-fiction 'Sleeper (1973)' and the Russian historical spoof 'Love and Death (1975),' but neither boasts the the intelligence nor the sophistication of this film, which wholly discards the Chaplin-like slapstick of Allen's previous films and adopts the Tracy-Hepburn screwball comedy of a decade later.

Originally slated – and filmed, in fact – as a New York murder mystery with a romantic sub-plot, 'Annie Hall' was taken by editor Ralph Rosenbaum and cut down (massacred, if you will) into the modern, witty 1970s screwball comedy that we still enjoy today. It is truly amazing that such an extensive post-production reshaping had no obvious ill effects upon the general flow of the film, though the structure in itself is so hectic that we probably wouldn't notice it, anyway: Allen frequently cuts forwards and backwards in time, his modern characters are able to revisit and discuss the past, characters in split screens interact, Allen regularly breaks the "fourth wall" and addresses the audience directly. Some of the discarded murder mystery elements from 'Annie Hall' were later incorporated into another Allen film, 'Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993),' which also co-starred Keaton.

Aside from Allen and Keaton, numerous smaller roles provide a crucial framework for the overall structure of the film. Tony Roberts is Rob, Singer's old friend and confidant. Paul Simon (of Simon and Garfunkel) plays a record producer who takes a keen interest in both Annie and her singing. Shelley Duvall is a reporter for 'The Rolling Stone' magazine, and a one-time girlfriend of Singer. There are also tiny early roles for Christopher Walken (as Annie's somewhat disturbed brother), Jeff Goldblum (who speaks one memorable line at a party – "Hello? I forgot my mantra") and Sigourney Weaver (who can be briefly glimpsed as Singer's date outside a theatre). Two slightly more unusual cameos come from Truman Capote (as a Truman Capote-lookalike, no less) and scholar Marshall McLuhan (whom Singer suddenly procures from behind a movie poster to declare to a talkative film-goer that "you know nothing of my work!").

Easily the most innovative and energetic of the films I've so far seen from Woody Allen, 'Annie Hall' is a spirited glimpse at the incompatibility of human beings, and a cynical yet bittersweet meditation on the falsity of the perfect romantic Hollywood ending. It is also a considerable comedic achievement, and Allen would repeatedly recycle his trademark neurotic New Yorker screen persona, most notably in 'Manhattan (1979),' but never with more success than this premium outing in excellence. The engagingly-convoluted storyline moves with such briskness that you don't realise just how very little happens, and that, by the film's end, our characters are exactly where they were at the beginning. Nevertheless, Allen manages to say something significant about human relationships – they're totally irrational, crazy and absurd, but we keep attempting them because of what they give us in return. Or, at least, what we think they give us.
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Witty and Charming, one of Allen's greatest achievements.
boycebrown-114 May 2004
Annie Hall is a movie about life. In recent films, there are fairly predictable endings. (i.e. guy gets girl after chase scene in Manhattan). Annie Hall goes against the grain of movies. There is definite chemistry between Allen and Keaton. That is one of the main reasons this movie is successful. Alvy and Annie do not have high wage jobs, they do not go clubbing, nor are they incredibly attractive. Why does a movie character relationship have to be so extreme it's unconvincing? These days movie producers create plots that are unbelievable. They don't have any depth and usually have shallow intentions. You can sense that the two leads care for each other. The situations in this movie resemble real life and that is why it is so critically acclaimed and remembered. Sure Woody talked into the camera, but that, in a sense is real life as well. It reminds me of my usual thought process and how when I think; I feel as though I'm presenting my thoughts to myself. Only he is, presenting it to us. This movie is clever and thought provoking. If you're looking for the opposite of a yearly run of the mill movie, this is for you.
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Woody Allen at His Best, Funniest and Most Interesting.
tfrizzell15 March 2002
"Annie Hall" is a brilliant romantic comedy that could have only been made by Woody Allen (Oscar-winning in directing and writing, nominated in acting). Allen stars as a Jewish stand-up comic who falls in love with aspiring actress Diane Keaton (in a well-deserved Oscar-winning turn as the titled character). Their relationship is explored throughout the course of the film in a gentle and warm-hearted way. Allen's unique views and brand of humor are prevalent from start to finish and the film is clearly made in the 1970s as many issues from that time period are explored as the film progresses. "Annie Hall" is simple in many ways, but deals with romantic issues in complex ways and the film is just so intelligent that it is near impossible to dislike. Woody Allen is brilliant as he usually is. Diane Keaton hit super-stardom as well with her role. The supporting cast includes the likes of Carol Kane, Shelley Duvall, Tony Roberts, Christopher Walken and Colleen Dewhurst. Look for an unknown Jeff Goldblum as an extra during the Los Angeles sequence. 5 stars out of 5.
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The Story about the Story
tedg28 June 2002
Woody is an intelligent man who worries about the issues of film-making. The primary concern, the very first problem, is always to decide what the relationships are among the audience, the camera, the narrator if any, and the characters.

Woody was on his way to making a murder mystery, which is the purest form of messing about with these relationships. In a much studied decision, they decided to cut out all the mystery and just focus on the context. In this case, that context is a richly layered evocation of a relationship. I really wish I could see the original film to discover the mysteries Woody intended to hide in the folds.

And the folds are as numerous and complex as they can get. We have a framing device where Woody speaks to us partly as a conversation which blends into a standup, which is mirrored as a part of the story. We have timeshifting where we move back and forth in time in a simple 'Tarantino' way; but we go way past: characters from the 'present' enter the past as Dickensian ghosts, then they talk to characters in the past. we have characters in different pasts talking to each other via split screen. We have a layering of Woody and Diane's relationship in real life, then the film, then TWO films within: a play which is part of the action and a cartoon which is the action itself.

More: we have Woody talking to the audience as if we were shifted into the play -- early in that play we are introduced to Bergman and Fellini: in both cases while they are waiting outside. These are the two inventors of folded narrative. Even more: while some bozo perfessor spouts off about Fellini and McLuhan, Woody enlists the audience to challenge him and drags out McLuhan himself! The joke of course is that McLuhan himself was a vapid weaver of lowbrow theories.

And more and more with the constant weaving of 'analysis' and other film-like activities: singers, photographers, TeeVee stars, models...

This period was when he was first exposed to Wallace Shawn who was hanging out with Terrence Malick, two other innovators in narrative folding. All the 'New Yorker' stuff means more when you know Shawn's father was the long-time editor of that publication and defined the self-absorbed reflection that characterizes the city and this film.

Keaton's manner was essential to pulling this off, someone who could pull off the story about her uncle dying while waiting for a Turkey. Watch her.. she is clued in to simultaneously being in herself (Keaton), herself (Hall), inside the story she is telling and inside the story Woody is telling. She shifts and guffaws just as if she were stoned and moving among realities, just as her character.

Just amazing and intelligent. Will we ever see this the way it was written and shot? Or is that mystery too intelligent for us, who prefer to think of this as a funny, endearing love story.
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Classic and still timely
MarieGabrielle7 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I had forgotten about how hilarious this film was, even though I had seen it as a teenager many times. Since Marshall Brickman wrote the script, it is brilliant; like the part where Diane Keaton orders a pastrami on white bread with mayonnaise, in a NY deli.

Woody Allen's expressions and character studies are priceless, and at this point he was at the top of his game. Some of his films now are redundant "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" seemed too contrived. But this film was a realistic comedy between him and Keaton, their analysis (no New Yorker in the 70's should be without an analyst!), and their eventual break-up when she relocates to L.A.

Paul Simon and Jeff Goldblum portray other L.A. characters, and there is a bit part with Christopher Walken as Keaton's suicidal brother (excellent). Rent this film again if you haven't seen it in awhile; some scenes are classic, and one of the best is Christmas in L.A. as Tony Roberts drives Allen through Beverly Hills: Keaton: "Wow. It's so clean out here" Allen: "Yeah that's because they never throw out their garbage they just put it on TV".

Great...Woody Allen we need your humor again, please write something decent for American audiences with a brain.
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New York angst on the romance couch.
jnaradzay28 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Annie Hall shows us the love story between Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) and Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). We watch Alvy as he matures and moves through several relationships set against the true love of his life: Annie Hall.

Alvy helps Annie grow and come out of her shell as evinced by the growth of Annies blossoming singing career. Even the songs are a metaphor for their relationship. Her first song "It had to be you" when their relationship starts. Later she sings in a mature, sultry voice "Seems like old times." Set against snapshots of their romance.

Keep your eye out for these young actors: Christopher Walken pre-Deer Hunter, as Annie's psycho brother "I dream of turning the wheel into the on coming lights." Alvy interrupts him "I have to get back to the planet earth." Jeff Goldblum pre-Big Chill, Jurassic Park, The Fly, In Tony Lacey's house calling his guru: "I forgot my mantra." Paul Simon as Tony Lacey a Californian music star. Carol Kane as Alvy's first wife whose relationship is influenced by Alvy's obsession with JFK's assassination conspiracy theories. Colleen Dewhurst, Annie's WASP mother, talking through the split screen to Alvy's mother. See if you can spot Sigourney Weaver as Alvy's date standing in front of the movie theater when Alvy meets Annie in NY at the end of the movie. Watch Gary Mule Deer in full afro when Alvy meets Annie in California. Now Gary tours with Johnny Mathis. Shelly Duvall as the transcendent Rolling Stone reporter. In a few years she will become Olive Oyl then Wendy of the famous "Here's Johnny" scene from the shining. My, how this movie hasn't aged at all. And that really is Truman Capote walking through the park when Alvy says, "And this guy gets the Truman Capote look-alike award."

You have got to like Tony Robbins, a square jawed ladies man in many of Woody Allen's movies (Radio Days, A midsummer nights sex comedy, Play it again Sam). You don't mind seeing Robbins type cast because you instantly know that he is going to be the perfect opposite of Allen's angst filled Alvy.

Another Woody Allen directing feature that I happen to like is his use of the split screen and the fixed screen. In both, the camera doesn't move thereby forcing you to get involved in the dialogue. These techniques work because Woody Allen has strong, tight dialogue and truly dramatic actors.

Many of the scenes from the late 70's and early 80's are wonderful to watch because they reflect the matter of fact mores and fads of the time: Snorting cocaine was cool, the veggie-burger-tofu California scene, the liberal Columbia college satire.

Listen carefully to the background chatter during the California scene at Tony Lacey's house with swinging' hip background music. Hysterical lines that you can use in your office today: "Right now it is only a notion, but I think I can get the money to make it into a concept then later turn it into an idea." Woody Allen has satirized and captured the language and mind set of the entire movie/music industries.

A memorable scene is when Alvy pulls Marshall McLuhan out from behind a movie placard to refute some bombastic guy pontificating about McLuhan's poetry. You wish you could do the same.

Truly a great movie that ages well and has a sweet message about romance.
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An enigma of undeserved recognition
myemailforschoothings12 July 2017
What a disaster of a film this is. Ironic in that it's everything it touts it hates. It appeals to a certain kind of culture especially at the time of its creation that functions only a thin layer beneath superficiality. As though just because of its constant and worthless, meaningless postmodern cynicism it actually means something real. But it's pure emptiness - there is no feeling or human soul or spirit in any of the film, and the center of it all is Annie and Alvy, with not an ounce of love between them. Plus the latter is excruciating, nauseatingly painful to watch for two minutes let alone ninety.

It appeals to the mind, not to the heart. It is exactly the kind of intellectualism it claims to hate.

The movie staggers constantly, flickering between occasional bouts of experimental wonder (I loved the animated scene) and rabid pseudo-intellectualist circlejerking. There's some knowledge behind it, but it's only mere name-drops. And again, for a movie about love it certainly is totally devoid of it. There's no real communication between the two main characters, it's all fluff, all gimmick. No genuine emotion exists in Annie Hall the movie.

I almost take it as a personal offense that the slopped-up holier- than-thou script is regarded as one of cinema's greatest. If this is our best, I fear we're doomed.
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Thinly veiled self-glorification
djl2629 July 2001
Woody Allen's puerile comedy reaches a true dramatic climax through a bit of unintended irony in the often-discussed "movie line" scene. In this scene we witness one pedant criticizing the pedantry of another in the middle of what is essentially a 90 minute diatribe. This scene sets up the remainder of an unbelievably hubristic film in which we will watch Woody (Why does he bother calling himself Alvy?) promoting the person he admires most. I'm still trying to understand how some might construe an assembly of self-consciously scripted one-liners as a coherent story. The humor in this film was so contrived that I began waiting for drumrolls after lines like "I never undress in front of a man of my own gender" and even began to wonder if a few years in Manhattan would see Rodney Dangerfield swapping jokes with Allen in an onstage partnership. By the time Woody uses all of the affect he can muster to pull off a suddenly sentimental closing scene, I refused to believe that he actually felt capable of evincing some sort of emotional response from the audience. Pathos is never a temptation for the viewer who is simply not interested in Woody Allen's life or those of celebrities in general.

As for the purported technical brilliance of the film (obnoxious postmodern pandering), I found it to be a hackneyed hodgepodge of Nouvelle Vague tricks pulled off with much less tact. For the sake of comparison, a film that does pull all of these elements together in a brilliantly funny and emotive package is Truffaut's "Shoot the Piano Player." "Annie Hall" was my first Woody Allen film and will probably be the last.
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Disgusting, boring monument to selfish and neurotic romance
roghache17 March 2006
I realize I'm taking on an icon here, but honestly, this is the most disgustingly boring and over-rated film to come out of the 1970's. It is unfortunate that the rather pathetic Woody Allen, an admittedly intelligent man who alas squanders his considerable talents, firmly believes that the cosmos revolves around his legendary neuroses. Even more unfortunate, is the fact that he has succeeded in persuading a large percentage of the Western world to agree with him. Frankly, it does not speak well of our culture.

This (yawn) movie revolves around a pair of self absorbed lovers...a neurotic New York comedian, Alvy Singer (played by Woody) and a would-be singer, Annie Hall. The two, both in analysis, move in together so they can exchange tales of their professional, paid for navel gazing. I certainly wouldn't want to imply that it might be simply for the convenient sex. The rest of this so called neurotic romance is far too inconsequential to bother detailing here.

Annie Hall is played by Diane Keaton, an actress who is actually very competent. Her movies are frequently not my favorite, though I did enjoy the cute Baby Boom. Her only memorable aspect in this film is her Ralph Lauren clothes, now of course quite dated, which supposedly caused a fashion revolution at the time.

That classic comment of Woody's regarding sex, "This is the most fun I've had without laughing" doesn't particularly impress me with its brilliance. Fear not, Shakespeare, Woody serves as no threat to you as master of the English language. It is indeed sad that so many people seem to praise this mindless, uninspiring, unoriginal, and not even particularly amusing pearl of wisdom as though it had virtually descended from the gods on Mount Olympus.

Annie Hall isn't the absolute worst movie I've ever seen, but it really doesn't have much to recommend it. I normally adore romances, but neither one of these two selfish neurotics captured my sympathy or even remote interest. Furthermore, the supposed witty banter between the pair failed woefully to either entertain or amuse me. Back in 1977 when I saw this movie at the theatre with my husband (then boyfriend), we both sincerely wished we'd found some paint and watched it dry instead. I guess this intellectual comedy was just far too complicated for little old us to appreciate.
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Utter tripe
phteven_hawking18 August 2010
I trust that modern viewers will see this film for what it is; an exercise in narcissistic self obsession that gives the viewer nothing to appreciate but a glimpse into the world of a 70's icon grossly obsessed with his own self-image and self imposed sense of grandeur.

If you enjoy modern day indie circle jerking then you may appreciate this mind numbing marathon of boredom.

The screenplay consists of an endless loop of Allen's 'intellectual' bickering about modern living that has absolutely no pacing or narrative development, never mind its wafer thin intellectual depth and pseudo-psychology. Poor acting by both of the only two characters in this film make for a study of how to fail in engaging the audience.

Watch this film to learn why the Oscars have no credibility.
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Woody Allen is soooo overrated!
gloomyrival10 April 2007
This film is probably one of the worst if not the worst films to take home an Oscar. Woody Allen has made a career out of wiping his "ego" on celluloid and calling it a feature movie. It's funny how in every film of Woody Allen's, he portrays the women in it as these stupid, ditsy, uninformed containers, while he is always the all-knowing, critical, sharp-remarking, neurotic genius who has been put there to enlighten these women on the world. Of course, the relationship fails in this film, as it reflects his personal life and taste in women...Annie Hall must have been too old for his liking or possessed too much of a will or a brain. What you do get in a Woody Allen film such as this, is two hours of his crappy, shallow, dishonest diatribe that conceals the creep inside of the ego. Annie Hall feels more like a fake, constructed front for a movie rather than delving into real emotional territory, but then, we are talking about Woody Allen.
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kira02bit11 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I am not remotely a fan of Woody Allen, but that does not mean that he has not produced work that I have enjoyed. I am actually rather fond of his valentine to NYC, Manhattan. I also like Take the Money and Run, Everyone Says I Love You, Radio Days and Manhattan Murder Mystery. However, I can sit through Hannah and Her Sisters, Broadway Danny Rose and Bullets Over Broadway without cracking a smile and becoming frustrated over their inability to make me laugh. I bring this up because somehow I managed to miss Annie Hall for decades until recently and it is pretty much considered Allen's definitive "masterpiece".

Annie Hall (which is the film that brought Allen the shower of awards and accolades that he purportedly disdains) centers on the romantic relationship between neurotic Jewish comedian Alvy Singer and aspiring singer Annie Hall. Right out of the starting gate, it hits on pretty much every note that one can find in Allen's other films. Alvy is obviously a thinly veiled version of Allen himself and longtime partner/co-star Diane Keaton takes the title role. Allen has done this whole semi-autobiographical character bit to death and Annie Hall is the best argument for putting it to rest.

What passes for comedy is that Alvy and Annie are both neurotic in their own ways - both are seeing analysts. Supposedly their relationship brings out the best in them before they ultimately part and move on. Alas, right from the beginning we pretty much sense that their relationship is doomed because both of these people are entirely too stuck on themselves and feel everyone else needs to play a supporting role. In place of any winning personality, Allen yammers incessantly as Alvy, mixing in a variety of dated, unfunny Henny Youngman-esque one-liners that are meant to convince us that Alvy is a brilliant comedic talent. Keaton, voice pitched at high whine, also babbles uncontrollably. Both throw around big words, reference the names of great thinkers, philosophers and artists, and espouse "deep thoughts" in a failing desperate attempt to make them appear intelligent, contemporary and interesting. The end result is a caricature of what rubes imagine New Yorkers to be like - shallow, faux intellectual, selfish, B.S. artists completely stuck on themselves.

The sequence where Alvy and Annie first meet and he returns to her apartment for a glass of wine is nothing short of embarrassing. There is literally no chemistry between them, they appear to have nothing in common, and we have no understanding of why Annie asks him back (or why he goes). They stammer, hem and haw awkwardly around like both are in the presence of greatness, Alvy drops some line about not wanting to get undressed in front of other men at the tennis club, which is not funny, but Annie laughs like Richard Pryor was tickling her backside. Back at the apartment, they begin their non-stop train wreck of babble and even when their lips are moving, we now get dialogue bubbles to tell us what they are really thinking. No surprise that their inner thoughts are as vapid and dull as their spoken words.

News flash to Allen (and his admirers) - referencing well-known, respected philosophers and artists does not make you an intellectual or brilliant. The barrage of oral flatulence which is expelled chronically from the mouths of the two self-impressed lead characters goes from irritating to unendurable at the speed of light. Alvy and Annie are two people that if you met them at a party, you would get up and walk to the other side of the room to avoid them.

The film's most delusional sequence has Alvy and Annie waiting in line at a movie theater and Alvy becoming insanely unreasonable because he keeps eavesdropping on the conversation of the couple behind them, where the man is telling his date why he does not particularly like Fellini. This difference of opinion so offends Allen that he must (in a pseudo-fantasy moment) humiliate the man in public. The guy demands from Allen "Aren't I entitled to my opinion!" To which Allen tells him not if it is contradictory to Alvy's opinion and is spoken loudly in public. Then upon finding out that the guy teaches a university class on Marshall McLuhan, Allen pulls McLuhan out from behind a sign to excoriate the man for being an idiot and not knowing what he is talking about. The irony of this scene is that the behavior of the man being humiliated by Allen is a more palatable rendition of Allen himself. When Alvy/Allen has a conniption that the man was voicing his contrary opinion too loud in public, I felt like yelling at the screen "Pot meet kettle." Of course in the world of Annie Hall, Alvy can voice all of his opinions publicly at the top of his lungs and be a chronic nuisance, because he is the only one that matters - and if you disagree, you will pay the price.

I find nothing funny, romantic or charming about this film. It reinforces completely misguided stereotypes about New Yorkers. Further I don't find spending 2 hours listening to two charmless, selfish, self-absorbed bags of neuroses blow wind, especially insightful or pleasant. And before Allen's admirers start in: Yes, I understood it. Yes, I got it. Yes, I like NYC very much. Yes, I like comedies. I just don't like Annie Hall at all.
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Simply put, incredibly, unbelievably, tremendously overrated
stevenfallonnyc12 November 2005
This is one of the most horrible films I have ever seen. I know my films, and I cannot believe the adulation some give this unfunny, unclever mess. This movie came out at a great time for hack Woody Allen - he had 60's and 70's audiences by the throat because they, for some odd reason, loved him for the most part. Fortunately, by the mid-80's people finally started to wise up to this shyster, and that's why every movie he makes completely bombs.

It's not about "getting it" - oh how I hate it when elitists like Allen fanatics try to pull that crap on people. "It's just over your head..." "Woody is an acquired taste..." "He's for sophisticates..." BULL. He SUCKS. He's a hack.

I actually do like a few Woody Allen films. I repeat, "like." Play It Again Sam was OK. Broadway Danny Rose was OK. A few more were OK. But really. "Annie Hall" is a joke. It's not clever, it's not funny, it's not entertaining, it's a farce. It's a great trick that Allen pulled on audiences and he got away with it. In 1977, he must have been laughing like mad behind everyone's backs. "I can't believe how great they are saying this movie is!!" My goodness. You gotta give Allen credit in a strange way though. For putting a mess like this out in theaters takes nerve. Politely smiling while everyone is praising your film that you know is a piece of crap takes nerve. Woody proves that old saying miscredited to P.T. Barnum is totally true!
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One of Woody's best!
Sylviastel10 October 2008
Okay, Woody Allen could be annoying sometimes and is heavily neurotic even in this film which he wrote and directed. The film is somewhat autobiographical about his relationships with a WASP woman named Annie Hall played by Diane Keaton in her Oscar winning role. Woody plays himself in the film even with a different name. Even though it's a short film, the story moves quickly and you have to be alert for some of the humor about the relationship between men and women. The supporting cast includes Tony Roberts, Paul Simon, Carol Kane and others. Woody's hatred of Los Angeles and all things Californian is well-known and documented. He is out of touch when he is away from New York City where he is equally neurotic. As a couple at first, Woody and Annie get along great but slowly Woody's own negativity creeps into the relationship. Annie starts seeing a therapist and their relationship unravels. When Annie's promising career as a cabaret singer rises, Woody becomes threatened and goes to Los Angeles to bring her back.
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tenacioust22 March 2005
Woody Allen makes Robin Williams look funny..Self important tripe.It shows how out of touch with society the academy has always been to give this clunker any kind of reward.Woody Allen while trying to come off funny(i think)comes across as annoying and whiny.His scripts are like junior college romance novels.I would like to tell you that I fell asleep during this movie,but Woody Allen's sniveling little voice kept me awake like a Catholic school nun and her ruler.I feel there is so much more I could have done with my life than see this movie.If I can warn one male in this country who has any testosterone left in his body to avoid this movie , I will feel I have accomplished something,and maybe just maybe they can use the time I saved them and make a difference in this world.God bless you...and God bless America.
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If they ever made a Hall of Fame for great movies of the 1970s. Anne Hall really does belong on that list.
ironhorse_iv29 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Though some people prefer 1979's 'Manhattan', 'Annie Hall' is generally regarded as the one of the best in Woody Allen's pretty solid filmmaking career. Worthy of the many Academy Awards, they won. This romantic-comedy was amazing, even if writer/director/actor Woody Allen kinda hates it. It's a classic that still relevant even today. Made during an era, where Allen was transforming from making silly, yet funny broad slapstick comedies to dramatic mature material that are somewhat good, but boring films, influenced by European art cinema. The film was indeed made at the right time. Full of priceless, witty and quotable one-liners, clever break the fourth wall jokes, beautiful cinematography, charming music, outstanding animation, wonderful complex supporting characters played by up and coming actors and actresses like Jeff Goldblum, Carol Kane, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Walken, Beverly D'Angelo, Shelley Duvall, and fun cameos like philosopher, Marshall McLuhan & singer, Paul Simon made this great. I like how this movie, not only tells the fictional love story of a fixated New York comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) with a ditzy, aspiring singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton); but give us, insight on the then-relationship between writer/director Woody Allen and his co-star, Diane Keaton and why the relationship didn't work. Several references in the film mirror Allen's own life, such as using Diane Keaton's original last name for Annie, and having his character, be a Jewish comedian living in New York has made most film critics believe profoundly that this film is just another of Allen's deep autobiographical. However, Allen is quick to dispel these suggestions, saying, the film is so exaggerated that it's virtually meaningless to the people that it was loosely based on. Regardless on his beliefs, the film is truly self-reflexive. It's hard to denial that Annie Hall does capitalized on many of the ingredients that had been the content of his earlier films, the subjects of cultural stereotypes, romantic angst, drugs, death, his use of therapy and analysis for comic effect, and his obsessive love of New York & his dislike of Los Angeles. Added to that, is his introspective neuroses and pessimism, his requisite jokes and psychosexual frustration about sex, numerous put-downs of his own appearance and personality, and distorted memories of his childhood. And Allen's script keeps going with scenes of stylistic strategies and cinematic techniques that support the fragmented nature of the film, such as the direct addresses to the camera style with voice over commentary, the adult time-travel back to childhood sequence & the sudden production of a real-life character. Added the double-exposed action, and the subtitled that contradict the action, and you got yourself, a very long, but unique film. Honestly, if Woody Allen didn't have editor, Ralph Rosenblum, this film could had gone forever. That seems to be a common problem with most of Allen's films. It just doesn't know how to pace itself. Many shots for this film, had to be eliminated or severely shorted, just to allow the audience enough time to digest it all. As much as I like the backstory of Alvy. In truth, I really came to see Annie Hall. Even Allen admit that he went overboard, saying he would had cut a lot of opening scenes about Alvy in order to introduce Keaton's character, faster. Diane Keaton really does shines in this role. She really does deserve the Best Actress win that year. An understated and subtle performance. I like how great, she was able to show character development, showing that Anne Hall does have confidence and that she can stand on her ownright. It's like a Pygmalion-like story. Just look at the scene where she sing 'Seem like Old Times'. Plus, the way, Keaton's idea to choose to dress Hall with mismatched of conglomeration of men's dress clothes was very influence to fashion. Absolutely gorgeous. Don't get me wrong, while, Allen's persona of playing characters with an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish is a bit tiresome old shtick, there was nothing too annoying about his shrill and nasal character here. I just like Keaton's performance, better. I also just glad, the film didn't kept the original murder mystery. It would feel, out of place from the rest of the story. Allen would indeed, later directed murder mysteries to satisfy that need with 1992's 'Shadows and Fog' and 1993's 'Manhattan Murder Mystery' retooled and taken from this script. Another thing, I'm glad, this movie didn't kept, was the titled, 'Anhedonia'. It truly could had been a state of acute melancholia. 'Annie Hall' makes more sense than any of the alternative titles, they were thinking like 'A Roller Coaster Named Desire', 'Me and My Goy' & 'It had to be Jew'. Overall: While, some critics might hate the movie for having a first world conflict and being a bit self-centered. With only a few flaws, this movie will continue to remind a classic romantic comedy for most, and I have to agree. It's one of the best film ever made. Definitely worth watching. La Dee, La Dah.
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Woody Allen is a genius.
randyhndrsn21 January 2006
Woody Allen is one of the greatest film maker's of all time, his movies are written perfect and he does comedy perfect.This is not my favorite Woody Allen movie, but i do like it a lot and i love how he does this movie.It is drama with comedy, and scenes in new york and the same music in all his movies, Woody Allen dosen't like to change.But i think he has something perfect, i wouldn't change it either and one thing good about Annie hall is woody.Him acting the way he does and talking to the camera is perfect, this man makes the movie with Dian Keaton doing a great job as well.Her roles in a lot of his movies are always excellent, this was Woody Allen's first big Oscar winning movie and is still considered his best work.If you like Woody Allen, then this film is just for you and i think it is a good couple movie that you can watch with a wife and girlfriend.The great Woody does it again with Annie Hall.
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I just don't get it.
gregb-1229 July 2002
I've heard people talk about Annie Hall since I was a kid. I finally get around to watching this the other day, and MAN what a snoozer! Zzzzzzzzz....(My wife literally fell asleep!) Anyway, this movie *might* have been fresh back in 1977 when it came out, but watching it today is like watching paint dry. Who *cares* about Annie Hall anyway? She's just this fruity 70's hippy who has nothing going for her. Woody Allen (IMHO) only "had it" back in the 70's, but even this definitely wasn't his best production. Oh well, flame me if you must, but I say take this one OUT of the top 100!! PUHLEEEEZE!
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A nervous romance.
Lady_Targaryen30 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is set in New York, as many of Woody Allen's movies. Alvy Singer is a comedian trying to maintain his relationship with his girlfriend Annie, who is a singer. The movie shows Annie's and Alvy's relationship over the years, and their ups and downs, as well as their similarities and differences.

'Annie Hall' is considered a great movie and it won numerous awards. Being referred as one of Woody Allen's best movies, I personally don't agree with it, preferring many other movies made by this great director. The movie was not even close of what I expected it to be, and I am a fan of all types of movies and genres, from all different times and years. My question is: why this movie is a classic? I don't hate it, but I don't understand why it is considered to be SO good. The only thing really positive I have to say about this movie, is that it doesn't end in a ''cute'' and predictable way, since both Annie and Alvy stay apart.
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