Annie How(Hall)

September 1, 2008 at 7:00 am (Uncategorized)

My first brush with a Woody Allen production was one of the most horrendous movies I’ve ever seen- Scoop about some journalism shit (God, even the mention of bringing back memories from that movie nauseates me). I had brushed my hands off Woody Allen for ever until I came across Annie Hall. People had been suggesting me to watch it since the time I’ve been bitching about Woody Allen but I was so afraid that they just might be right and I’ll have nothing to bitch about anymore. Unfortunately, I was right.
Ages since I saw a movie which touches you with all its subtlety and sincerity. As the movie starts with a short credits introduction against a black background and no music, you know the movie wants to break the mould. Alvy Singer (Allen) breaks into a long monologue about what life is meant to be. Listen to this “Two fat women at a restaurant are talking. Awww such bad deserts they have. and the other woman replies they serve it in so small portions as well.” Life with all its miseries and misadventures makes you yearn for more.

There is no suspense to the movie. You know you can sit back and enjoy the movie without biting your nails because the end is given out in the beginning itself. Alvy’s character is nervous and confused which is reflected in his opening monologue where he digresses from his original stream of thought . The movie then jumps back to a flashback into the childhood where the technical expertise of Allen actually appears for the first time. Witty and sensitive at the same time.

The plot is simple. Alvy and Annie fall in love and through their journey take us back into their lives. It is a coming of age love story handling some regular issues in a couple’s life. There are no larger than life villains ( come to think of it there are no villains and then again there are no larger than life characters at all). Life with its twists and turns is the real character in this script. Alvy could be your average Joe(Jew)

There is a lot of yacking in the movie. Infact amount of dialogue/running time could be amongst the highest for AH. The thing I want to talk about the most is the new techniques introduced by this movie. Allen has been known for being experimental and brave. See I can be appreciative as well( scoop still remains one of the worst movies ever). The actors often stare straight into the camera away from the other characters and address you directly. There is an abrupt transition from one scene to another whenever there is a change in the time frame. The subtitles are used sometimes to tell us what the characters are really thinking. Imaginative and powerful. people walking on the streets jump in to a) share their thoughts on the events going on b)tell us what is happening with the characters off screen. Animation is used in a scene which I am sure inspired Who framed Roger Rabbit . Split screens with concurrent dialogues about the same stuff is used as a medium to express two different opinions.

But the most interesting technique used was the one where the characters in a flashback go in their past and witness events from their past. In certain instances, they are accompanied by some of their friends well.This allows them to express their feelings from that era and what they were feeling or how they would have wanted to change that particular scene.

In one particular scene, Alvy and Annie stop in the middle of having sex to debate the Kennedy assassination( eerily close to real life). Another outstanding scene is when Alvy doesn’t want to have sex  with Annie and he thinks maybe it is because he doesn’t want to be a member of the club which is bad enough to take him in as a member. Witty and realistic dialogue is what we miss in the movies these days where everything has to be over the top.
Alvy as a stand up comedian uses his jokes to convey his feelings about life,relationships even politicians.
I can’t think of another movie where the humor was so subtle ( Johnny Depp in Pirates of Carri bean maybe) Woody seems to have lost the touch over the years though. Wait, I am not going to go on a tirade against Allen (atleast not on the day I’ve watched Annie Hall)

If you want something to keep on happening in a movie, don’t ever go in. This movie is much above that. It gives us a new version of the genre romantic comedy.

I leave you with this gem of two lines where Allen’s 6 year old classmates in a flashback tell what they are doing today

“I used to be a heroin addict. Now I am a methadone addict.”

” I am into leather” -6 year old girl

Genre: Comedy, Romance.

Rating : Gem

Go watch it with: your better half, an intellectual friend

Go watch it for: Wit,Humor, New cinematic techniques, learning what romance is all about, stop bitching about woody allen

Annie Hall

Annie Hall

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1 Comment

  1. almostinfamous said,

    one of my favourite movies of all time. simply amazing for how different the whole movie is

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