Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Diane Keaton and Woody Allen
ANNIE HALL (1977). Director: Woody Allen. Screenplay by Allen and Marshall Brickman.

:There's too much emphasis on orgasms to make up for the emptiness in life.: -- Alvy.

"Who said that?" -- Annie.

"Leopold and Loeb." -- Alvy.

Comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) tells us of his relationship with, and ultimate bittersweet breakup from, girlfriend Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) in a tale that looks at how people can love one another but may not be right as lifelong partners. Annie Hall is one of Allen's most likable and entertaining movies, a frequently inventive comedy-drama (with emphasis on comedy) in which Allen/Singer talks directly to the audience, and he and other characters observe and comment as they look back at their younger selves with earlier lovers, and so on. Allen [Shadows and Fog] and Keaton [Shoot the Moon] both offer winning performances and there are small roles/cameos from Colleen Dewhurst [You Can't Take It With You], Christopher Walken, Carol Kane, Shelley Duvall, Janet Margolin, and larger roles for Tony Roberts (whose character of a sitcom actor never seems remotely real) and Paul Simon as a wealthy record producer (he's fine). An odd scene has Annie talking about a tragic, shell-shocked uncle without having any real understanding of what the poor man must have gone through and laughing at it until she realizes "I guess it's not funny." Duh! The film has a sub-text of the differences between a New York and Hollywood lifestyle, not to mention the differences between Manhattan and L.A. You can't say that either Alvy or Annie are people you might actually want to hang out with, but they make an engaging sort of couple for the movie if nothing else. Allen won Oscars for writing (along with Marshall Brickman) and directing and was nominated for his performance; Keaton won the Best Actress Oscar, and the movie won Best Picture.

Verdict: Not really a masterpiece as such, but lots of airy charm and creative fun in this. ***.


angelman66 said...

I just watched this one again, too, Bill, after seeing Diane Keaton receive the AFI Life Achievement Award. Really charming movie, actually, and I do think Allen and Keaton had terrific chemistry. Fun to see them on that awards show together, and I also caught Manhattan Murder Mystery again after reading your review. A delight.

William said...

Glad to hear it! Always nice to watch likable and fun movies when there's so much crap out there, LOL!