Annie Hall (1977)
Annie Hall is one of the thirty-something films vying to feature in my top ten. Read about my search here, and see the current standings here, and to see just why Annie Hall is in the running, read on…
WHY ANNIE HALL?
There’s something so delightfully comforting about Woody Allen.
Sure, over the years the relationship we’ve shared has been so inconsistent and unpredictable that it’s borderline abusive. But we’ve always come back to him, and still have the potential to love him whole-heartedly (Midnight In Paris) whilst retaining the right to turn our back, blanking him in the street (Cassandra’s Dream).
It has been a good few years since I last watched this film, and I was overcome with joy to discover some moments, sequences and dialogue that I had completely forgotten – and at times it felt like I was watching a new extended, hilarious, director’s cut. I had loved this film before, but once more around the block, Annie Hall has such great legs, as I fell even more in love.
For an act that Woody has aped, repeated and forced upon a new generation of actors ad infinitum, it still feels wonderfully fresh and contemporary in 1970’s New York.
Flitting back through time, into memories, disney animations, unexplained in-jokes and wonderfully obscure visual gags at times it feels like a live-action high-brow version of a Family Guy episode; and considering it pre-dates this modern day comedy behemoth by three decades, it’s a comparison that should be celebrated.
Diane Keaton is at her scatty best, and as all good celluloid relationships do, it made you root for their real-life love. Every time we see Woody out and about with his step-daughter, uh, wife, you wistfully imagine the joys that a lifelong collaboration between Keaton and Allen would have brought forth.
And so, while you keep giving us ecstatic highs like Vicky Cristina Barcelona every decade and with the gaps in between filled with the occasional roughly polished gem like Small Time Crooks, I will forgive you your missteps, turds and slaps in the face. Just love me back. Please.