The power of cinema lies in the effects films have on people. Films can make you cry, laugh, alter your opinions, influence you, be representative of a milestone in your life and can even change your life. Our new weekly film column, ‘The Film That…’, explores the impacts of cinema on people. This week, Ellie Leddra shares how Annie Hall made her realise people are not perfect.
I have a very bleak sense of what love is. I also have a bleak sense of how a relationship should happen and that’s something I thought I’d never have. Simply because romance is so cushy and cute in films, well all the films I had seen growing up. Couples met one another, they would spend time together, fight and then recover from that and live in their little bubbles. I think when I saw Annie Hall for the first time it made me realise this film squashed all imagery of happy endings. This was the film that was to make me realise life sometimes isn’t simple and sometimes it isn’t perfect. Let me explain why.
The 1977 classic introduces us to Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) who is depressed, or so he thinks. He’s a comedian all whilst hating being a comedian. He sees a therapist for which depresses him even more. He plays tennis with his best friend to try and be socially outgoing yet still seems to hate all the mocking people around him.
Funnily enough at this end of this match, he meets Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Now you see Annie is completely la-dee-da (literally) and she’s a bit ditsy, and she’s bad at driving and she has old sandwiches in her bag, a catch am I right? She’s not perfect basically. However Alvy and Annie start going out and throughout their breakups and makeups they somehow seem to gel. They fight over lobsters and get jealous over infatuations with other people but somehow seem to connect under the Brooklyn bridge. That is until they break up for the final time.
When I watched this film for the first time I kind of thought, oh a break-up in a movie. It’s not until I watched it until the fifth time that I realised that something was happening here. They had broken up because of their flaws, the fact that they couldn’t just work it out made me worry that true love was doomed. I started to think about the other films I had seen like these and soon realised that none of my plushy love filled films were like this. I started to wonder why, why did Annie and Alvy seem so perfect together yet had flaws that could fill a nation? Why did Annie annoy Alvy so much that he would accuse her of being on her period? Also why would Alvy cling to Annie yet hate her free-will lifestyle?
It was only until I watched it a few months ago again after a short hiatus that I realised that this was life. Sometimes it takes things to happen in your life to realise not everything or everyone will be perfect and it’s only so long you can make them seem like a dream and really they evaporate into nothing in a few seconds. It seemed I too had flaws like Annie and Alvy and when a guy never responded or I got too drunk and texted someone, it meant I wasn’t perfect, much like my dream couple. I used too tell people I wanted Annie and Alvys relationship just so I could agree with the fact that sometimes love doesn’t work out – and thats okay.
Now it must seem I’m nattering on about love, and sure I am…but this film made me grow up. I still have my romance filled bubble with hopes and dreams, but I also realised break ups are sometimes necessary and being a little ditsy is okay and not socialising won’t make you a bad person. People criticise Woody Allen films due to his personal past and I find myself defending this because a film is a film.
He took the chance to make something brutally honest and it was. It’s cynical and uncomfortable and sometimes you want to look away because you wonder how could you ever do that but isn’t that life? Isn’t life a bit like a Woody Allen film?…a little unpleasant, throw in good bits but ultimately fair but so unfair? I’ll let you decide.