Woody Allen sub-titled Annie Hall “A Nervous Romance”, and it is certainly that. It’s a very touching, sweet and funny exploration of male/female relationships based on the real-life romance of Allen and Diane Keaton (whose real name is Hall and whose nickname is ‘Annie’) which had ended by the time the movie was made.
Allen essentially plays himself (as usual) as a neurotic Jewish New Yorker who is funny, sad, self-centred, basically decent, alienated and a hypochondriac all at the same time.
Keaton manages to portray All-American Midwestern Annie as a real person – No mean feat in what was a demanding role where she had to show her character in a wide variety of time periods and situations.
She pulled it off admirably and convincingly and deservingly won the Best Actress Oscar for her work here.
Heavy on biography and psychoanalysis, the movie develops via flashbacks, monologues and blackout sketches and includes an amazingly strong supporting cast; Carol Kane, Shelley Duvall, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, John Glover, Shelley Hack, Beverly D’Angelo, and (in a shot from so far away that the only way you’ll know it’s her is from the credits) Sigourney Weaver.
But perhaps the real star of the show is Jonathan Munk, who plays a nine-year-old version of Allen’s character, Alvy Singer. The kid’s absolutely hilarious.
Annie Hall went a long way towards establishing Allen in the front ranks of serious directors and picked up Oscars for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture (beating Star Wars).
Allen did not attend the Oscar ceremony, preferring instead to keep his regular jazz gig in Manhattan than visit LA.
Alvy aged nine