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- Sean Connery as William Forrester in "Finding Forrester"

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Oscar Review: Annie Hall (1977)

Woody Allen's most acclaimed film, Annie Hall, is a comic love story that is counted among the greatest movies of all time and is a timely Valentine's Day addition to our survey of the Oscars.

The film follows the lives of neurotic comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) and his lively girlfriend Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). After breaking up, Alvy tries to figure out what caused the demise of their once-happy relationship.

Often jumping around to different periods of time within their love affair, Alvy will occasionally break in and out of his own flashbacks, while they are going on, to offer commentary or even to have independent conversations with the other characters in the scene.

From growing up under a rollercoaster, to public conversations about their relationship, to saving Annie from a spider in her bathroom in the middle of the night, Alvy paints such a vivid picture of the life they shared. Alvy describes his relationship problems quite well: "I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." And, "A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark."
Annie Hall - winner of 4 of its 5 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay - is Woody Allen at his finest. AFI ranks it on 5 of its lists:

  • #31 greatest film
  • #4 greatest laugh
  • #11 greatest passion
  • #90 greatest song ("Seems Like Old Times" performed by Diane Keaton, Music/Lyrics by Carmen Lombardo/John Jacob Loeb
  • #55 movie quote: "La-dee-da, la-dee-da."

With small appearances by Christopher Walken, Coleen Dewhurst, Paul Simon, Carol Kane, Shelley Duvall, and a line by Jeff Goldblum, Annie Hall is a delightful look at life, love and the consciousness of the most self-deprecating of men.

Woody Allen films are an acquired taste for many and it does take a little work to get used to his subtle humor and commentary. However, once you become accustomed to the external expressions of Allen's internal rants I'm sure that you, too, will love Annie Hall and its thoughtful analysis of the struggle to add meaning and love to your life.