Monday, February 22, 2010
Annie Hall(1977, Woody Allen)
My major concern is that part of me is all too much like Alvy Singer, the movie’s protagonist. We all have our own neurotic idiocies, but Alvy’s are magnified tenfold. He has serious manifestations of self-loathing, self-doubt, misanthropy, and is highly sarcastic. All of this makes him a great comedian-very witty and sharp-but leave him deficient as a human being. Why him and Annie Hall, the titular character, hook up is either a testament Avy having some kind of hidden charisma, or perhaps the fact that sometimes women see things in guys that, in all likelihood, one wouldn’t think they would be interested in having a relationship with.
I really don’t know, as love is a mystery, a secret element of life that I highly doubt I will ever understand. I commend Allen for not only skipping any attempts to rationalize romance, but also for so willfully breaking the “Fourth Wall” so that we can get a better look into his characters. One could call it the “Window into the soul,” if one was so inclined, but its better known as a great and popular film technique and narrative device.
Thus, despite the risk of such a move being perceived as a gimmick, thanks its use we emphasize even more with the movie’s characters. While not every movie should utilize it, but Allen appears to excel at doing so, and therefore we get hilarious moments such as when Annie and Avy’s families are jabbering back and forth. During that particular scene, subtitles are used to broadcast the character’s real, actual thoughts in their heads, and in another scene Annie’s feeling of being distant, which is unsaid verbally, is literally broadcasted.
Having seen more of his movies, such a move is something he has been known to do, although being limited in my viewing of his films I am not sure if this is something that he does on a regular basis. I imagine it is part of his quest to expand beyond convention cinema, as he has been known to do, but I’m not entirely sure.
Despite being a rather small part, I also liked Christopher Walken’s cameo, if only for its sheer comedic value, and because its quite possibly my favorite part of the movie. With that scene, Walken showcases that eerie, fantastic acting quality that he would showcase later on in his movies. With a couple of other heavy hitting movies already under her belt, Diane Keaton used this film to become even more respected as an actress, and it’s a shame that Allen didn’t make even more movies than he did with Keaton. She’s a lovely leading lady, very capable of emoting so many different feelings and actions. Through her in this movie, we not only get the sense of why modern day feminism truly emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, but that strangely thanks to Singer she makes something of herself.
Unfortunately for the couple, this all leads to an on-off again relationship that I’ve witnessed first hand in friends before, where they are not really working as a couple, but after breaking up they, for reasons unknown or unrealistic to me, they get back together again. The line “Relationships are like a shark, they have to keep constantly moving. And um, what we’ve got on our hands here is a dead shark,” is not only brilliant but very true as well. In the grand scheme of things, the trials and tribulations of love and relationships are a funny and complex thing. Which is what is finalized and actualized in this fantastic and rather moving, film. 100