Woody Allen builds into Annie Hall two counter-analytical devices designed to render his “sensitive” , “honest” , “moving” film critic proof. First, he presents a film critic/academic as a posturing, petty, jargon-laden, insensitive bore - that’s one in the eye for all those second-raters who try to wring Meaning, Message, Massage, or Deep Kulchural Significance from this little opus. Your Friendly Neighborhood Critic, reeling from the onslaught, then must confront the second barrier to understanding this film: the explicit introductory statement by Allen (who portrays Alvie) that the film is in the nature of a search for the causes of the break-up of a relationship. The story is thus made particular, concerning Alvie (a twice-married, twice-divorced New York Jewish comedian, sufficiently well-known to perform at Democratic Party political rallies) and Annie (an insecure WASP from an uptight, mid-West family, trying to break into the New York nightclub scene as a singer), and the implication is that the trajectory of their relationship - how two people “made it” together and then, somehow, sadly, lost it - bears no social significance.
Recommended CitationBoehringer, Kathe, Film Review: Annie Hall, Australian Left Review, 1(63), 1978, 47-48.