Annie Hall (1977)
Annie Hall is Woody Allen at perhaps his most technically creative, as he embarks on a vivid quest of past and present in the life of the romantic Brooklyn intellectual Alvy Singer. And that borderline distinction between real-life renditions and fictitious fabrications in this more or less autobiographical film makes it a highly interesting affair from more than one perspective. The bittersweet tone of Allen's has rarely been more delicately balanced than it is here, as Alvy Singer goes through life making decisions that he cannot account for while constantly chasing moments that he's never able to enjoy once he has them.
The neurotic, talkative nature is youthful and fresh, and only rarely in Annie Hall does Allen catch himself delivering lines that seem like preceding repetitions to his increasingly more established and predictable persona. That is to say, even though the Woody Allen character (never mind the character names) by 1977 not yet had become a guy you would recognise like you would your next door neighbour, his distinct and concentrated appearance could threaten to overimpose himself on the viewer even at this point. However, when the script is crisp, and the direction as visionary as it is for most parts of Annie Hall, Allen is more relevant than ever. Bear in mind that in the 1970s, Allen was at home as a role model for young to middle-aged urban intellectual men. His edgy, sarcastic worldview belongs here - he is in demand, disarming every which way of life (including his own) lashing out at the conceited and the ignorant, the hip and the old-fashioned.
And rarely has the humour been more well-placed and entitled than in Annie Hall, even if Alvy Singer's life and experiences, for all his witty lines and observations, gives him no further insight and takes him nowhere except further into the debacle. It's an amusing and funny (sometimes hilarious) comedy by and about a self-centered man who knows himself all too well to ask the audience for advice or comments.