I thought of that old joke, y'know, the, this... this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, "Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken." And, uh, the doctor says, "Well, why don't you turn him in?" The guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs." Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y'know, they're totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and... but, uh, I guess we keep goin' through it because, uh, most of us... need the eggs.
— Alvy SingerAnnie Hall
(1977) is an American romantic comedy film directed by Woody Allen
from a script co-written with Marshall Brickman. One of Allen's most popular films, it won numerous awards at the time of its release, including four Academy Awards
, and in 2002 Roger Ebert
referred to it as "just about everyone's favorite Woody Allen movie".
Allen had previously been known as a maker of zany comedies; the director has described Annie Hall
as "a major turning point", as it brought a new level of seriousness to his work, in addition to consolidating his signature cinematic style, which includes long, realistically written scenes of conversation, often shot in uninterrupted takes, and an equal thematic investment in both hilarity and heartbreak.
The film was originally written as a murder mystery, but Allen and editor Ralph Rosenblum chopped off the mystery parts, and turned the film into a romantic comedy being told by Alvy. Allen would later use the murder mystery plot for Manhattan Murder Mystery
, which starred Allen and Keaton as a married couple, which many consider a Spiritual Successor
to Annie Hall
Provides Examples Of:
- All Women Are Prudes:
Separate therapists: Do you have sex often?
Alvy: Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.
Annie: Constantly. I'd say three times a week.
- Anachronic Order
- The Anti-Nihilist: A number of Alvy's opinions on life and relationships reek of pessimism and nihilism, best exemplified by the film's opening lines,
Alvy: There's an old joke, um... Two elderly women are at a Catskill Mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life—full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly.
- Aside Comment: Alvy makes several of these throughout the film.
- Author Avatar: Hmmmm...Alvy's neurotic, Jewish, from New York, with a fixation on Diane Keaton, who is also incidentally a stand-up comic...nope, probably just a coincidence...
- Berserk Button: A mild case, but Alvy does NOT like hearing the word "neat".
- Better as Friends: Alvy realizes this at the end of the film.
Alvy: After that, it got pretty late and we both had to go. But it was great seeing Annie again. And I realize what a terrific person she was and how much fun it was just knowing her...
- Black Comedy Rape: "My grammy never gave gifts. She was too busy getting raped by Cossacks."
- The Cameo: literature and mass media critic Marshall McLuhan as himself.
- Catch Phrase: Annie's "La dee dah".
- The Chanteuse: Annie is a nightclub singer.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Annie's brother Duane. He's....a little off.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Alvy is a mild case. He uses speculations about the JFK assassination to avoid sex with his first wife.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: "Don't knock masturbation, it's sex with someone I love!"
- Deadpan Snarker: Alvy, of course, but Annie gets her shots in.
Alvy: I can't go into a movie that's already started, because I'm anal.
Annie: That's a polite word for what you are.
- If this scene is any indication, Allison was a bit of a snarker herself:
Alvy: You, you, you're like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y'know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "You mean that my whole fallacy is wrong!"
- Alvy noting that he hates public showers because he doesn't want to be naked before "men of my gender".
- Did Not Get the Girl. Subverted, in that both realize they're Better as Friends.
- Drives Like Crazy: Annie herself, and (worse) her brother Dwayne.
- Alvy himself proves to be a horrible driver when he takes out an entire parking lot in Los Angeles. Yes, he had just lost Annie, but after the first couple of fender benders, that's no excuse.
- Face Palm: Alvy does this in a flashback to his childhood:
Alvy (voice-over): And Ivan Ackerman. Always the wrong answer. Always.
Ivan Ackerman: Seven and three is nine.
- Freudian Slip: A ton. For example:
Alvy: What did the doctor say?
Annie: Well, she said that I should probably come five times a week. And you know something? I don't think I mind analysis at all. The only question is, is 'Will it change my wife?'
Alvy: Will it change your wife?!
Annie: Will it change my life?
Alvy: Yeah, but you said, 'Will it change my wife?'
Annie: No I didn't. I said, 'Will it change my life, Alvy?'
Alvy: (directly to audience) She said, 'Will it change my wife?' You heard that, because you were there. So I'm not crazy.
- Fun with Subtitles: Alvy and Annie's first awkward conversation comes with these.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Pam: I'm sorry i took so long to finish
- Gilligan Cut:
Alvy: (before) 'Cause adult education's a wonderful thing. You meet a lot of interesting professors. You know, it's stimulating.
Alvy: (now) Adult education is just junk. The professors are so phony.
- Godwin's Law: "What's with all these awards? They're always giving out awards! Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler!"
- I Have to Go Iron My Dog:
Duane: Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist, I think you'll understand. Sometimes when I'm driving... on the road at night... I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The... flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.
Alvy: Right. Well, I have to - I have to go now, Duane, because I, I'm due back on the planet Earth.
- Imagine Spot: Seamlessly integrated in many times, most notably the scene in the movie theater line where he pulls in Marshall McLuhan to disprove a blowhard prattling on and on about him. "Boy, if life were only like this!"
- In-Joke: At one point, Alvy gets a bit miffed over Annie having an issue of National Review. Ten years before the movie came out, Woody Allen had William F. Buckley on his show, and they got along quite well.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Alvy's elderly aunt.
Aunt Tessie: I was quite a lively dancer!
- Jews Love to Argue
- Laugh Track: Rob's use of it to boost his sitcom drives Alvy bonkers, calling it "immoral".
Alvy: Is there booing there?
- Leave the Camera Running: The rare positive example. As noted by Roger Ebert:
Bordwell tells me Annie Hall
has an ASLnote
of 14.5 seconds (he says other 1977 films he clocked had an ASL of from 4 to 7 seconds). By comparison, the recent film Armageddon
has an ASL of 2.3 seconds, a velocity that arguably makes intelligent dialogue impossible.
- Love Allegory: "A relationship is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies."
- Malicious Misnaming:
Alvy: Stop calling me "Max".
Rob: Why, Max? It's a good name for you.
- Reality Subtext: Woody Allen always used "Max" as his fake name in hotel registers.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Annie. Played straight, then deconstructed.
- Medium Blending: Alvy and the Evil Queen from Snow White.
- Minnesota Nice: The Wisconsin-born Annie is a combination of Minnesota Nice and Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Also her relatives in the Easter dinner scene: "I can't believe this family... They're talking swap meets and boat basins and the old lady at the end of the table is a classic Jew hater."
- No Fourth Wall: Which makes sense, since the entire film is a story that Alvy is telling the viewer.
- Pensieve Flashback
- Powder Gag: The coke-sniffing scene.
- Racist Grandma: Grammy Hall.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted for the most part.
- Romantic Comedy: A rare example with a Bittersweet Ending.
- Rummage Sale Reject: This film made the look famous.
- Self-Deprecation: Well, it's Woody Allen. What do you expect?
- Sex Changes Everything: Averted when Alvy and Annie have sex for the first time.
- Shout-Out: The animated Woody is the Author Avatar of Woody Allen's comic strip that was published in newspapers at the time.
- Silent Credits
- Slice of Life: It is a somewhat autobiographical slice of Alvy's life
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Alvy is on the cynical side. "I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable."
- Annie is on the idealism side, but Alvy notes that he considers it a "personal triumph" when he meets her dragging a new boyfriend to see The Sorrow and the Pity.
- Speech-Centric Work, as specifically noted by Roger Ebert:
"Few viewers probably notice how much of Annie Hall consists of people talking, simply talking. They walk and talk, sit and talk, go to shrinks, go to lunch, make love and talk, talk to the camera, or launch into inspired monologues like Annie's free-association as she describes her family to Alvy."
- Split Screen: Used several times to comedic effect.
- Take That: Alvy is aghast at the practice of TV laugh tracks, calling it "immoral" and saying it means the show isn't funny enough for a Studio Audience.
- Twin Threesome Fantasy: "16 years old! Can you imagine the mathematical possibilities?"
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Remember Duane's speech about intentionally crashing his car into another head-on? Guess who is driving a relaxed Annie and a terrified, wary Alvy to the airport? At night? In the rain? With a car passing by in the opposite lane?
- Unreliable Narrator: Alvy, by his own admission, has "some trouble between fantasy and reality".
- Vox Pops. Alvy discusses his relationship with Annie to various random people on the street - including a horse.
- White Guilt: Alvy's parent's argument over firing the cleaning lady. Alvy's mother said she was stealing from them. Alvy's father said they should give her a break because she's "a colored woman from Harlem", and "The colored have enough trouble already", and "She's got a RIGHT to steal from us!"
Alvy: (watching) You're both crazy!
- Word of God: Invoked in-story with Marshall McLuhan.
- Your Costume Needs Work: Played with. Winner of the Truman Capote look-a-like contest is... Truman Capote.