I have a girlfriend. Well, she is sort of my girlfriend. Well, she was my girlfriend anyway. We want different things in our futures, but yet we still act like a couple. Relationships are weird sometimes I guess. Or maybe they are weird all the time. In any case, one thing that's for sure is that real life relationships aren't anything like the perfect way most movies portray them. How many times have you watched a movie and known within fifteen minutes who will be ending up together? And how many times have you seen the following formula. Guy meets girl > things look good for a while > there is a big misunderstanding and the girl leaves the guy > both guy and girl realize they are meant for each other > guy and girl get back together. If you answer isn't something along the lines of "too many times to count," then you must be lying to yourself. Of course, the movie never shows a month later where the guy cheats on the girl and they never speak again.
But I digress. My point is that Annie Hall (omg am I finally talking about the movie?!) falls into this category of movies, but it is one of the few movies, and the best one, that paints a portrait of a believable relationship. And when you can make a skinny, whiny Woody Allen getting some delicious, young Diane Keaton seem believable, well then your movie is doing pretty well. The movie also refreshingly diverts from that established formula I mentioned, both in story and in style. To discuss the story part would be a spoiler, but the style of this movie is one of its major positives. It flashes from scene to scene, and does so not always in chronological order (the whole movie is really just a flashback of the main character's life), so there is never any consistent flow. This might sound like a bad thing, but in doing so Allen is able to pick out all the juicy details and best parts without having to connect everything with unnecessary scenes. He goes further too, as the main character steps outside of his own life at times, and in one part is even represented as a cartoon. I find these varying modes of storytelling refreshing, and they keep me glued in, wondering what the director will throw at me next.
Now, with this being a romantic comedy, and with Woody Allen being a comedian, the director, and main character, there are of course going to be loads of stand up jokes scattered throughout the movie. And having never actually listened to his stand up, this film makes me regret it. He talks fast, talks a lot, and admittedly whines a lot, but he is great at making clever observations. He plays himself in the movie, and it really shows, and helps make the comedy believable.
That leaves the romance part. Diane Keaton is almost painfully cute in this movie, and she works with Woody Allen very well. Their entire relationship, their ups and downs, it's all believable. And I think it's so believable because we get this examination of the little details of their lives. We don't get scenes that are made to progress the plot, but instead are given moments that only matter in their own context, and only to these two people. When you finish the movie you will realize that there wasn't really any plot to it at all. It was simply life. A more recent movie that follows this same idea, and is actually quite similar in many ways, is 500 Days of Summer. It's a pretty good film too actually. It's no Annie Hall though.