In fact, I’ll go far as to say that Annie Hall is my #1 favorite Woody Allen film.
This romantic comedy is easy to explain on a thematic level. It’s the story of a couple (an insecure, neurotic comedian named Alvy Singer, played by Woody Allen, and an actress named Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton) from first meeting to break up, told with incredible pathos, such sublime insight into the human condition, that it still resonates deeply with audiences nearly 40 years after it was released in 1977.
What’s harder to explain is the leap in quality between Annie Hall and Love and Death, which was released just two years previously. And it’s incomprehensible to me that Annie Hall comes a mere 10 years from Woody’s first turn behind the camera in What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (albeit not as bad as Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sex*).
Annie Hall marks a turning point in Woody’s career, an Oscar-winning turning point.
According to its entry on Wikipedia,
Annie Hall won four Oscars at the 50th Academy Awards on April 3, 1978. Producer Charles H. Joffe received the statue for Best Picture, Allen for Best Director and, with [Marshall] Brickman, for Best Original Screenplay, and Keaton for Best Actress.
Keaton is amazing in his movie. Not only is her wardrobe noteworthy (it touched off a fashion trend in the mid-1970s) but so are her mannerisms, including the way she delivers her lines.
For example, when Annie and Alvy first talk after a tennis match, she utters the phrase “La-di-da, la-di-da, la la” in such a cute way that it’s one of my favorite lines from the movie, and the scene one of the best.