Annie Hall – 1977

I hate Woody Allen.   Ever since the whole “sleeping with his girlfriend’s daughter” thing, I can barely stand to look at him.  He makes my skin crawl.  Because of this, any time I’ve actually taken to sit down and watch one of his movies I either change my mind or barely pay attention.  It’s like I purposely torpedo my chances of enjoying one of his films.

I’ve seen a handful of his films and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) is the only one I’ve suggested others to watch.  Somehow, Annie Hall never made it to my list of “must see” films.   Thanks to my free time and On Demand, that changed today.

I decided to watch this movie while pretending that the current version of Woody Hall doesn’t exist.  I forgot all about the things that make me skeeve him, wiped my mind clean of anything I ever saw him in and settled down.   I surprised myself that it was so easy to do and I’m extremely pleased with myself that I did it.  I’ve come to two conclusions in regard to watching Woody Allen films:  I need to watch them alone (or with folks who like him) and I need to forget all about who Woody Allen is.

Almost immediately, it isn’t hard to see why America fell in love with Diane Keaton.  Breezy and neurotic and naturally beautiful, anyone would want to be around her.  I’ve never understood the attraction to Woody Allen but this is one film where you can’t say “Someone like her would never go with someone like him” because, well, she did.

I Googled Woody Allen for background on him aside from the skanky stuff.  Stunned to find out that he’s the same age as my father.

So for 90 minutes I forget he’s Woody Allen and become genuinely taken with Alvy Singer.  I can’t remember the last time I watched such a perfect movie – and it totally galls me to write that.

The pacing is perfect.  Hell, the flashbacks fit perfectly within the story telling, and the progression of Annie’s and Alvy’s relationship makes perfect sense.  As much as we’re conditioned to want the perfect Hollywood ending, the ending Allen creates for Alvy and Annie is the only one that really makes sense.

Also, this is the third out of three movies to use the musical montage.  The montage of Alvy and Annie together near the end of the film is, in a word, brilliant.  In my opinion, Allen is the only director, so far, to use the montage in the way it was intended.

It’s the perfect length, it doesn’t get bogged down in any plot except two people dealing with being in love and I laughed or smiled through the entire thing (and had a few tears during the montage).  It’s ridiculous that I waited this long to watch this film.

But I still think Woody Allen is a freak.

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