Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

The Scroll

No. 4: Annie Hall

The film we love to love

Print Email
(Corbis)

1977, dir. Woody Allen. Annie Hall is Woody Allen’s Rosebud. It is the key to his obsessions, his being, the pure essence of his drive. The films that came before it were zany and charming. They entertained because they removed the bespectacled nebbish from his small shtetl of shrinks and anxieties and planted him in unlikely positions of power and influence, as the leader of futuristic space rebels or a fictitious Latin American country. But Annie Hall is a very different movie: Rather than apply a premise designed primarily for easy laughs, Allen chose to examine that most gnarled of human conditions—a romantic relationship.

Annie: We’re not having an affair. He’s married. He just happens to think I’m neat.

Alvy: “Neat.” What are you, 12 years old? That’s one of your Chippewa Falls expressions.

Annie: Who cares? Who cares?

The quivering, defensive statement; the cruel, belittling retort; the exasperated dismissal—here, in three short lines, is intimacy curdling, communication breaking down.

The balance between the deep thought and the easy laugh is a difficult one to strike. Allen never did it again. His very next film was 1978’s Interiors, a kind of Annie Hall without humor or charm. Then came a few other good films—Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters—that tried to follow the old formula but fell short. Then came awful years of letting go of inhibitions, on screen and in life. But we must forgive Woody Allen his caustic comedies, his dull dramas, his forays into sentimentality. We must forgive Woody Allen just about anything, because he gave us Annie Hall. We love this film. We lurve it. We loave it. We luff it.

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

No. 4: Annie Hall

The film we love to love

More on Tablet:

ADL: Anti-Semitic Incidents on the Rise in U.S.

By Gabriela Geselowitz — Study reports nearly 1,000 incidents in 2014, up 21 percent from 2013