Annie Hall Film Analysis

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Annie Hall, directed by, written by and starring Woody Allen follows the life of Alvy Singer, a neurotic New-Yorker. Throughout the movie, he narrates his experiences as he ponders on the meaning of life and his failed relationship with Annie. The intellectual but comedic urban romance marked a turning point in Allen’s career earning him an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1977. Yet, this paper focuses on his counterpart played by Diane Keaton and how her performance shaped both the story’s direction and its reception by the audience. It is argued that in an eponymous and partially autobiographical motion picture, Diane Keaton’s subtle and natural portrayal of Annie Hall, a free-spirited ingénue, steals the spotlight away from Woody Allen’s …show more content…
Her role in Annie Hall fits this pattern as she renders a modest and subtle performance, full of silences and hesitations, balancing Alvy’s one-liners and monologues. Annie’s vulnerability and charming optimism with her ditzy expressions such as “la-dee-dah” or “oh gee” clash with Alvy’s New-Yorker cynicism. Keaton plays on a lower voice volume than Allen and uses a hesitant tone as Annie self-doubts, pauses in middle of sentences, corrects herself and lets Alvy ramble on and on. Her silences become expected as she lovingly watches him expressing himself with a fast pace and nervous hand gestures. Her admiration for him and the fact that he does not value her as intellectual seem to stop Annie from interjecting. Keaton’s non-verbal acting, her posture, the way she often stands in the corner of the frame letting Alvy in the center almost sucking the air out of room, her calm but shy voice and her fidgeting help translate Annie’s insecurities and lack of confidence around Alvy. Equally neurotic and insecure, the two seem to compliment and understand each other with the caveat that Woody Allen’s character tries to grab the viewer’s attention and not let go. When he breaks the fourth wall to directly address the audience, Annie is left in the background. As the movie is framed through Alvy’s lens, what the audience progressively learns about Keaton’s character is filtered through Alvy’s perceptions and interpretations. He effectively primes viewers to think a certain way about Annie. Yet, as Hall becomes romantically involved with Allen’s character, she affirms herself as an equally worthy character, instigating fights with him on their different views of intimacy, and begins to speak her mind more freely as she gains in presence. Annie fully blooms and captivates the audience’s attention during a scene

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