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September 26, 2012 by Lindsay Sharman

Disclaimer – I wrote this at three in the morning, with scrambled egg between my ears (unusual feeding habits, me. Fnarr fnarr.)

I’ve spent the last four hours watching films and smoking in bed. I don’t normally smoke, but I wanted to compound the scumminess of lying in bed in a dressing gown and jeans, passively staring at a screen.

First film – Annie Hall. Fact : Woody Allen has made a film based on an original screenplay that he wrote almost every single year since 1970-ish (haven’t bothered to double-check this, as you can tell). You can dispute the consistency of the quality, but you can’t dispute the frickin work ethic.

Another interesting fact (again half-remembered, without references, but what the hell, this isn’t an academic paper) – Annie Hall was originally a murder mystery, and was only made into a relationship film in the editing suite when they realised how naff the main plot was. A murder mystery! Annie, the eponymous heroine, was originally a fairly minor character! Under the control of a psychic space squid! (Only one of these statements is bullshit. It’s the last one. Shame.)

I liked it. I liked the film. Please may I have a job at Empire magazine?

The disintegration of the relationship between Annie and…ermmmmmmm, the character Woody Allen played as Woody Allen, was extremely satisfying. So much more satisfying than the lie of perfect love. I’ve never bought into Romeo and Juliet for instance, held up as the greatest love story ever told, despite it being about the boning of a 13 year old girl.

Although actually, on second thoughts, even though I’ve just suggested that R&J is the antithesis of Annie Hall, there is an element of bald reality to it that often gets overlooked. In one of the opening scenes of the play, Romeo is obsessing over some bird called Rosalind. Then before you can say “Jesus, and I thought Edward Cullen was creepy and wet”, he’s forgotten all about her and is shrieking his love for Juliet. The point being that, had the two star-crossed/imbecilic lovers lived, the little shit would’ve very likely been writing someone else’s name in hearts in his homework diary come the following school term. They had to die, to preserve the integrity of their fragile relationship. But people forget the Rosalind factor, and think it’s a play about perfect beeeeeyoodiful lurve lurve lurve.

Why the hell am I talking about R&J? I meant to write about Annie Hall.

I think what I’m trying to say is; I find the uncomfortable reality of romantic love more compelling than the rubbish that we routinely ingest like bovine bedwetters (I’m looking at YOU 50 Shades / Twilight / most films since film began.) And my beef with the love story in R&J (that has seemingly come out of nowhere) seems to be that it’s viewed (even when it clearly shouldn’t be) as tragedy = beauty, that the integrity of romantic love must be preserved at all costs, when the reality is that tragedy is ugly and disabling, and romantic love is not a stable unchanging state. Or something. Like Sting’s song about stalking, “Every Step You Take” or whatever it’s called. It’s not about love, people!

I have little idea what I’m trying to say. That audiences can be morons. That audiences deserve thoughtful films like Annie Hall. That audiences are both morons and more intelligent than we give them credit for. Gah. That audiences are made up of individuals?

How insightful. It’s 3.30am btw.

I also watched Chasing Amy. But seeing as I’d probably veer off into discussing Shaft and Andy Pandy if I try to review it, I’ll leave it for now.


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