Annie Hall ★★★★★

“I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.”

Yes, this is the one; the single best Woody Allen film by any measure. Annie Hall is a masterclass in dramedy writing. Abandoning the screwball comedies that defined his career in the 1960s, Allen embraces a more melancholy and philosophical approach to his writing and delivered, with Marshall Brickman, the finest screenplay of his career. 

The characters are beautifully realised. Unsurprisingly, Alvy fully embodies the most definitive Allen character that he would trademark forever more but there is so much to enjoy about his presence on-screen in this picture. To say the character is flawed is an understatement but to say that he is uninteresting would be a lie.

Diane Keaton deserves every bit of praise she has been awarded for this role. Annie is likeable, sweet, endearing, confident and awkward in the most human of ways. As you might expect, she is the heart of this film and elevates the material from a high standard to an impossible-to-reach one. 

By god is this script funny. I love every word written in this screenplay. The situations are as hilarious as they are tragic. The jokes are as intellectual as they are accessible but a lot of that comes from what a loveable pair we are graced with here. Something I adore is that there are so many specific and absurd opinions littered across this dialogue. So many gorgeously realised insights into how, Alvy especially, thinks and feels about every aspect of the mundane and unhappy life that is lead. I cannot imagine anybody not finding these two relatable on some level. It is crazy to think that they pull off Alvy being an especially selfish and mean person, not a role model at all, and make that very much the point. 

I don’t know what else to say. I think Annie Hall is perfect. 

P.S. When Harry Met Sally owes its entire existence to Annie Hall. And you can take that to the bank.

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