Woody Allen’s Annie Hall: Love is a Many Splendored Thing
When it comes to love, almost everyone can relate. We all have our own story to tell, be it romantic or tragic, short-lived or has gone through ages. Pity the one who has never liked a love story for whatever it says.
We see love stories immortalized in books and personified in movies. These stories, in one way or another, reaches the climax where one realizes that s/he has fallen out of love for a person only to get back with that person in the end, and they live happily ever after, as the cliché goes. There are few movies out there that experiments on the “what ifs” of a relationship, and ending in a rather bad note: the man and the woman meets each other in the end and that’s it. No more sparks or that kind of thing. Most times, the viewers are left to ponder on their own whatever might’ve happened to them eventually.
Wherever movie writers and directors want their stories to go, it is still generally up to them what kind of reaction they want to get from their audiences. And as for Woody Allen’s romantic comedy “Annie Hall,” I definitely had a hard time sorting one reaction from the other.
I have to be honest; I didn’t quite get the movie at first. I mean, it wasn’t as gripping as other romantic movies were; it was actually a little slow-paced. Although I like the way Woody Allen acted as both the lead character and the director. With so many years watching movies, I still am in awe with actors-slash-directors who can do both and at the same time.
I also like the way the characters would “leave” their bodies and show their alter egos, who can have a decent conversation with another character, as in the part where Annie “left” her body when Alvy wanted to make love to her. In more than one instance, the characters will face the camera and talk directly to it, as though addressing the audience. One good example is when they were in line in the cinema and one of the men there was voicing his opinions out rather loudly. The man and Alvy talked to each other and argued, a world apart from the rality that is the cinema line, and even takes time to talk to Marshall McLuhan. In one instance of the movie, too, Alvy compared Annie’s straight-edge from his noisy relatives: the screen was split and it was highly effective in showing the stark difference between the two sets. Overall, I like how they utilize this effects to show that the audience is a part of the movie.
So let’s talk about LOVE as it was portrayed in the movie. Alvy was married twice and has a girlfriend named Annie. Annie was a singer, although she did not think she was good enough to be a professional one. The two of them met in a game of lawn tennis, where Annie invited Alvy over for a drink. So we know what happens next, as do all love stories do, but the way Woody Allen showed it, love is a very complicated thing.
In the movie, Alvy was the manipulative one: He told Annie that she should take adult education classes, and that she should not miss her therapy with regards to their “sexual” problems. Annie, on the other hand, was the one with the low self-esteem: she thinks she’s too unintelligent for Alvy and that she can’t become a better person. She lets herself be misguided by her boyfriend’s notions of her. They kept on arguing on who is more selfish than the other, and who gives more than the other. Ironically, when Annie eventually learns to widen her perspectives with political magazines and meetings with her professor, Alvy turns for the worse and becomes jealous. Soon enough, their immature relationship, instead of becoming more mature, becomes a fall-out. Love, my friends, has let them fall out of it.
Love is indeed a complicated issue. It is also remarkable that this movie can be considered as the start of all romantic comedies.