Not all romantic films have to feature two well off, attractive people. The main thing is that they have to have chemistry. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton have chemistry to burn in this film. Everything about the film from the affection between the couple to the neuroses of Allen’s character is realistic. They make you believe that the two characters really care about each other and while watching it you find yourself caught up in every detail about the relationship. As the cherry on top of everything the film is clever and though provoking to boot. A winner all around.
Comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen – Manhattan, Antz) is the last person you would think that Annie Hall (Diane Keaton – Morning Glory, The Family Stone) would fall in love with. They are total opposites. Alvy is pessimistic, cynical, sarcastic, and obsessed about death. Whereas Annie is a little ditzy, clumsy and quite artistic. But when they first meet the fireworks go off and they fall for one another.
Once they are dating they butt heads often over their differences, but in a cute kind of way. Like he does not like her pot smoking before sex. She is upset that he is unsure about her giving up her apartment to move in with him. They date and in the beginning it is all hearts and flowers. She applies for university a big fight ensues and they break up. They both date other people. After some time passes she calls him and they start up again. Soon they are both telling their therapists that the relationship is not doing well again. After taking a trip to California they break up again. It is a less dramatic break up this time. They actually remain friends after the break up.
Again Alvy attempts dating other women and again it is less than successful. He takes a flight to California only to find that Annie is dating another man and is quite happy. After Annie rejects him Alvy begins a tailspin. Once he is back in New York and writes a play about his and Annie’s relationship the healing begins.
The writing (co-written by Allen himself) is sublime with an intelligence to it that is not often seen. No fat here wordwise. Every single word was obviously sweated over. Though there is plenty of humour it is not of the slapstick or quick variety. Things are often humourous and poignant at the same time. Each scene is leading up to the next despite the back and forth nature of the film. Whatever subject he tackles (drugs, New York vs. California, religion, politics, etc.) Allen does well.
It was so lauded by the critics and loved by the public that it won the 1977 Best Picture Oscar. The quality to it transcends the usual ceiling for a romantic picture. It takes a look at life in the 1970s and romantic relationships with such an astute eye and biting humour that you can’t help but love it.