Annie Hall

Once I had little patience with Woody Allen – he always seemed to play a self-obsessed neurotic character who just couldn’t stop talking. I suspect that I may have grown out of my short attention spans now – and that is perhaps the reason I am able to appreciate his movies far more. That could be a possible explanation of why I liked Annie Hall where Allen plays another of his neurotic characters. It was a very perceptive, if funny take on relationships and how complicated they are.
The movie is about the relationship between Alvy Singer, an ‘anal’ Jewish comedian and equally neurotic singer Annie Hall, who go through the usual mess of relationships – issues in bed, levels of commitment, dating blues and finally the problems of fundamental differences which makes them go seperate ways. (Literally). At every point you are wondering why they split up since they do love each other and are quite happy together. But as Allen puts it bluntly:

“I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.

And how often is it true that people are unable to feel safe and nestled in relationships that make them happy. Perhaps we are so insecure about the fading away of that happiness that we would rather see this death earlier than live in a dreaded anticipation for a long time. Is it that fundamentally we believe that we do not deserve true love or happiness? If we dread the end, the end already has landed on us and the relationship cannot really move forward, and thus in a way we bring about the end of our relationships ourselves.

The movie has a lot other things that make it a great film of wit – flashbacks in Bergman style, Alvy often speaking to the camera directly, Annie’s spirit rising from the bed – everything that make it worthwhile to watch. But its brilliance is in its recongnition of the fundamental truth of the above lines.

Bergman & Allen

I cannot believe that Woody Allen is a fan of Ingmar Bergman or is influenced by him in any way. Whereas you hardly hear the spoken word in Bergman’s movies, talking and words are all that Allen uses in his films. Its like he cannot stop talking.
Strange influence this is!