Allen & Keaton
“There’s an old joke,” begins Woody Allen, talking straight to camera. “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.”
Allen’s film, starring himself and Diane Keaton as a neurotic couple living in Allen’s beloved New York, is often celebrated as a game-changing work by the director. It swept the 1978 Oscars, including best actress for Keaton, best script, best director and best picture.
The film’s bitingly funny and neurotic script boasts some of the most-quoted lines in modern cinema about love and relationships. In one memorable scene, Allen turns to Keaton’s character in bed to say: “That sex was the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing.”
Despite the obviously autobiographical elements to the Annie Hall (Allen was in a relationship with Diane Keaton at the time and, like his character Alvy, had been married twice before), he insisted that the film was mostly fiction. Allen did, however, concede that at least one aspect of his own life was reflected in Alvy: “There’s one clear autobiographical fact in the picture,” he said in 1977. “I’ve thought about sex since my first intimation of consciousness.’’