Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.
Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Alvy Singer, a forty year old twice divorced, neurotic, intellectual Jewish New York stand-up comic, reflects on the demise of his latest relationship, to Annie Hall, an insecure, flighty, Midwestern WASP aspiring nightclub singer. Unlike his previous relationships, Alvy believed he may have worked out all the issues in his life through fifteen years of therapy to make this relationship with Annie last, among those issues being not wanting to date any woman that would want to date him, and thus subconsciously pushing those women away. Alvy not only reviews the many ups and many downs of their relationship, but also reviews the many facets of his makeup that led to him starting to date Annie. Those facets include growing up next to Coney Island in Brooklyn, being attracted to the opposite sex for as long as he can remember, and enduring years of Jewish guilt with his constantly arguing parents. Written by
[addressing the camera]
There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life - full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly. The... the other important joke, for me, is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I ...
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Christopher Walken's name is misspelled in the credits as "Christopher Wlaken". See more »
Woody is an intelligent man who worries about the issues of film-making. The primary concern, the very first problem, is always to decide what the relationships are among the audience, the camera, the narrator if any, and the characters.
Woody was on his way to making a murder mystery, which is the purest form of messing about with these relationships. In a much studied decision, they decided to cut out all the mystery and just focus on the context. In this case, that context is a richly layered evocation of a relationship. I really wish I could see the original film to discover the mysteries Woody intended to hide in the folds.
And the folds are as numerous and complex as they can get. We have a framing device where Woody speaks to us partly as a conversation which blends into a standup, which is mirrored as a part of the story. We have timeshifting where we move back and forth in time in a simple 'Tarantino' way; but we go way past: characters from the 'present' enter the past as Dickensian ghosts, then they talk to characters in the past. we have characters in different pasts talking to each other via split screen. We have a layering of Woody and Diane's relationship in real life, then the film, then TWO films within: a play which is part of the action and a cartoon which is the action itself.
More: we have Woody talking to the audience as if we were shifted into the play -- early in that play we are introduced to Bergman and Fellini: in both cases while they are waiting outside. These are the two inventors of folded narrative. Even more: while some bozo perfessor spouts off about Fellini and McLuhan, Woody enlists the audience to challenge him and drags out McLuhan himself! The joke of course is that McLuhan himself was a vapid weaver of lowbrow theories.
And more and more with the constant weaving of 'analysis' and other film-like activities: singers, photographers, TeeVee stars, models...
This period was when he was first exposed to Wallace Shawn who was hanging out with Terrence Malick, two other innovators in narrative folding. All the 'New Yorker' stuff means more when you know Shawn's father was the long-time editor of that publication and defined the self-absorbed reflection that characterizes the city and this film.
Keaton's manner was essential to pulling this off, someone who could pull off the story about her uncle dying while waiting for a Turkey. Watch her.. she is clued in to simultaneously being in herself (Keaton), herself (Hall), inside the story she is telling and inside the story Woody is telling. She shifts and guffaws just as if she were stoned and moving among realities, just as her character.
Just amazing and intelligent. Will we ever see this the way it was written and shot? Or is that mystery too intelligent for us, who prefer to think of this as a funny, endearing love story.
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