In my late teens, I saw 500 Days of Summer for the first time, and hated it. It didn’t help that I watched it with a girl I was hopelessly and unrequitedly infatuated with, but what really got to me was how messy it felt. Like they couldn’t settle on a theme, and how inconsistently it broke the fourth wall, and how fucking true all of it was. Not to compare the two, but if I had seen Annie Hall first, perhaps things would have been different.
It’s okay, I love 500 Days of Summer now. And I liked Annie Hall. It made me laugh out loud, and it made me wonder: If I’m still single by the time I’m 40, will this be what my life is like?
Annie Hall just channels the mind of Alvy Singer, and it’s honest and unapologetic. Unlike other instances of a film being “just a bunch of stuff that happens”, Annie Hall feels like organised mess – like a scrapbook of Woody Allen’s real-life relationship with Diane Keaton, and much like my own thoughts on it.
I don’t really remember a single moment of the film. I just remember feeling reflective, related to, and entertained. I’m not a twice-divorced Jewish stand-up comedian living in New York. Nevertheless, Annie Hall could have been about my future.
It strikes me that, much like the relationship in the film, Annie Hall is kind of throwaway. Seen it, move onto the next one. A valuable but equally forgettable experience. Watching the top 250 films is like a shark: you have to keep moving forward or you’ll drown.