I've never cared much for Woody Allen, then again I've never watched many Woody Allen films (I found his character in the Dreamworks animated Antz to be annoying). Plus I've always held a childish and stupid grudge against him for Annie Hall's triumph of Star Wars at the 1977 Oscars©. Very silly, I know, but such as it is.
However, finally I got around to seeing Annie Hall yesterday afternoon. It was one of those films I figured I should see, landmark of the 70s, etc., and so I sat down and low and behold...I thought it was great!
The film concerns the relationship between a neurotic geek named Alvy Singer and the title character, Annie Hall, played to perfection by Diane Keaton. Those who have described it as "the Chasing Amy or High Fidelity of the 70s" are right on the money. It's a funny, intelligent look at the relationship between two people who can't seem to get things to work out. Annie is everything a geek like Alvy could want, intelligent and beautiful, however his own insecurities and idiosyncrasies finally get in the way of their relationship. It's wonderful and bittersweet, with some laugh out loud moments and moments of reflection and contemplation.
The movie is funny, and is definitely the precursor of the "breaking-the-fourth-wall-comedies" of recent times (ala Malcolm in the Middle or High Fidelity). There are some brilliant scenes, one in which Alvy confronts a loud cinema snob in a line up by bringin in critic and theorist Marshall McLuhan to show him he doesn't know what he's talking about. Another involves what may very well be one of the first Christopher Walken Monologues™ (in his brief performance as Annie's brother Duane). The film is filled with wit and style.
However, what really got me into the film is Annie herself. Diane Keaton is a pitch perfect. I found myself falling in love with her over the course of the film, and seeing myself in Alvy and his insecurities. Diane Keaton has got to be one of my favorite actresses for this and The Godfather alone.
What I also saw in the film, and perhaps why the film struck me as it did at this time in my life, is that we all have our own Annie Hall's. That girl who is interesting, beautiful, smart, and surprisingly interested in me! Alvy says it best when he says his oft repeated joke "I could never be part of a club that would have me as a member."
Now I'm going to do a little bit of public confession (I'm new to this so bear with me). I recently (well, a month and a half ago) broke up with my girlfriend of 9 months. It was a rough time, and I was frustrated at my inability to make everything work out. Like Alvy and Annie, we've decided to stay friends and the future is unknown, but it's hard to live without that person in my life. In the end it's painful looking someone who I feel so comfortable with, whoose interests are so similar, and to have to say good bye. The break up was not any one's fault, per se; the situation her moving to Toronto to pursue graduate studies, cause emotional distancing that put an unworkable strain on our relationship. I know that doesn't say much, and I've never been one to reveal to much, but the film really resonated with me.
Hoever, like the Annie of the film, I'm happy just have got to spend time with her when I did.
Thanks for the memories, Jen.