Annie Hall: Small Portions
By Sean Wu
In the beginning of Woody Allen's Annie Hall, Woody's character Alvy Singer tells two jokes. One of them tells the tale of two old ladies at a bad restaurant. Apparently, one says "The food here is so bad!". The other says "… and such small portions."Alvy comments that that is how he feels about life: bad but too short. That's how I thought of Annie Hall upon first viewing: bad and too short.
Upon second thought, though, Annie Hall is much more. It is to the screwball comedy as is Chinatown is to the film-noir: a modern masterpiece.
Beyond the first jokes and fourth walls is an opening, and a humorous one too. Alvy reminisces about his shaky childhood with his house under the roller coaster. Upon rewatching, I question if the roller-coaster was an exaggeration of Alvy's tale, and more of a dramatic decision.
...and from his rocky childhood, we see the neurotic and shaky Alvy in his adult years. Seemingly, he really only confides in his therapy sessions and his friend Rob. This is when Diane Keaton's Annie Hall enters the picture.
Annie Hall, like Alvy, is a goofy klutzy person who also confides in therapy, and can also seemingly rewatch The Sorrow and the Pity. Does each others company complete each other? I would say so. But the happiness doesn't last long, for it seems like their happy for only 20-30 minutes of the film.
Cracks start to befall the relationship, like a college professor named David, and Annie's addictive need for artificial stimulation for sex (use a large vibrating egg next time,). It's tragic, mainly for Alvy, to see the relationship fall apart.
And that's what makes Annie Hall so great. It sticks to the first joke, like with Alvy's life in the movie: bad, but so short.
But it doesn't end here. After the relationship ends, Alvy meets Annie in New York again after some years. They have a good time together. So even if the portions are small, there might be some good food amongst it, I guess.