Annie Hall considered as Woody Allen’s greatest movie which was released in 1977 shows the story of a failed romance. Starring Woody Allen himself and Diane Keaton the movie represents Allen’s own personal. This movie was a completely different idea of Allen from other movies since all other Allen’s movies are always filmed in a way to seem as laugh machines in which you would laugh all the way through it. Annie Hall interprets the love and the need of workout n a failure of relationship but all of this is treated in a comic way, in a way that would move the audience, make them cry at the end of the movie.
Annie Hall has a self-absorbed humor and romance theme with both characters having insecurities, Alvy in his sexual life and Annie on her intelligence, which is a cause that drives their relationship into its demise. Woody Allen’s character in the movie is Alvy Singer who is a Jewish comedian that represents Allen’s personal life as a comedian.
The movie starts with Alvy’s flashbacks into his childhood which lets the audience to get to know him as a character more, knowing that the goal of the movie is to tell a story for the characters that enrich the plot of the whole story.
His flashback set him up as a pessimist who throughout his life had little luck in relationships or sexual interactions. So from the very beginning of the movie it is clear that he has a low self-esteem, pessimism and failure to succeed in love. Alvy and Annie showing up as a couple first lead the audience from the very beginning to have a view on how their relationship started to fall apart. Of course it is shown through Alvy’s perspective on this relationship thus the movie is filmed more on his unending loneliness than it is on love.
This relationship is a fragile one which is plagued by insecurities of both characters. Annie also appears to be insecure in the movie being anxious and nervous at the beginning of it. There is a particular scene where they are in a balcony sharing a drink and Annie’s inner voice dialogue shows how she is scared to make a move. When both of them are together it can be noticed that both of them are frustrated and upset. This can be seen from their facial expression and body language which include rapid hand gestures.
The mood in which the movie was filmed appears as a monotone place to be in. The mood here represents the lack of new routines and lack of freshness that kept the relationship healthier. Not having either of them is a cause that they hit a bump while they are together. The tension in the movie grows when Annie accuses Alvy of doubting her intelligence, suggesting at the same time that her intelligence is as same as his. Here Alvy’s narcissism comes in scene showing him as smart, self-centered and anxious.
All of these characteristic are taken in consideration after knowing that Annie was first attracted to Alvy due to his superior intellect but this attraction then is a cause for her insecurities since she is convinced that the reason he does not want to commit to her is her intelligence. Knowing that Alvy underestimates her, Annie start gaining confidence and she grows her self-esteem as Alvy pressures her and reinforces her insecurities when it comes to her level of intelligence.
We can see that Alvy helped Annie’s personality to blossom in a way that she finally realizes that she does not need him anymore. In the opinion of Knight, Annie “with a confidence instilled by her acquaintance with another set of values, she is able to achieve a degree of autonomy and independence hitherto denied her” (220). When Annie decides to break up with him this immediately leads to Alvy’s disempowerment even though they have broken up for good he could not accept the fact that she is no longer dependent on him.
Throughout the movie it can be seen that he believes that the happiness can be found through another person, but the way he tries to create Annie as perfect as possible and having his own image of her, makes the relationship fail. As for filmic devices that Allen uses throughout the movie, different symbols interpret and describe the situation. Starting with the location, New York, which is Alvy’s favorite place in the world. New York has all the characteristics that Alvy is a person, thus New York being a socially cold place, a gloomy and claustrophobic environment show the personality of Alvy.
There are certain photographic techniques that Allen used in the movie which enable the audience to have a better sense of intimacy. In this movie scenes Allen used unbroken shots which make the camera look like an extra character that follows the actions and the dialogs appear spontaneous also. Furthermore, Alvy has the narrative control which leaves him to go back in the past so through art he gets a more ideal version of what is going on. As Sayad argues “Show standing in for his character in the film all of which color the fiction with biographical elements, rendering the diegesis vulnerable to the real” (26).
He used various techniques to interpret this starting from the animated version of the situation where the editing techniques show him as the animated Alvy and Annie as the Snow Queen. This adds an unpredictability using the fantasy elements where Alvy tries to improve upon life. Moreover, the subtitles used in a part of the conversation in the balcony, is another effect that reveals what both of them are really thinking since none of them has the courage to say anything.
Another scene which lets the audience know what is going between the characters, is the bedroom scene where they are having sex and suddenly Annie’s spirit gets up and sit by the bed which shows how bored was Annie from their sexual interactions. The technique which drives the audience more into the movie is the way that Alvy speaks directly to the audience in certain scenes, as he is playing his role he switches and addresses them directly. All of these are some of the astonishing visual effects that Allen uses in his movie in order to get the audience more into the movie, by describing the characters the best way possible.
Freud’s ideas seem to have had a great influence in Annie Hall since Alvy mentions him several times throughout the movie. The plot of this movie is about a man, Alvy, who can turn everything into a joke but he wishes he couldn’t so it is seen that the movie is found between two switching tones where they switch from the real subject to another point of view where jokes are revealed. After all, this movie is not serious during the whole filming since it is meant to transmit laughs to the audience also.
Allen made sure to do that while making sure to flash quick jokes even using visual effects to do so. The visual one comes into scene where he appears as a Jew, so in that way he can show the audience how Annie’s family views him. As Grigus states, “Jokes are like dreams, according to Freud, because they give expression to disagreeable elements that are usually prevented from entering consciousness” (123). In other words, Alvy by using jokes tried to escape the reality how things are and tried to create his own image of things, including how he saw Annie.
It can be seen that Alvy psychoanalyzes the situation too much but the movie is framed between two aspects which suggest that the movie should not be taken so serious but rather it should be seen as an entertaining performance. The movie seemed as a therapeutic session for Allen who expressed his relationship with Diane Keaton, a relationship which differs from other romantic comedy’s because it does not end in marriage. The bitter sweet ending of Annie Hall proves to the audience that the real life is not easy; it is not predictable and can be painful at the same time.
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