5 Films (And A TV Show)… A new series where we recommend films referenced, inspired, influenced or generally like a certain Woody Allen film, from his first to his latest. All picks are subjective – let the arguments begin!
Annie Hall’s acclaim never seems to dull. Regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, it tops the list of greatest comedies and in particularly romantic comedies. Of course, there are so many terrible rom coms.
What makes Annie Hall great? Is it how Allen plays around with film forms? The many and varied ideas? That it’s a deeply personal study? Is it just Diane Keaton? Or that it is, still, heaps funny.
The was by far the toughest film to pick recommendations for. But here we go anyway – 5 films (and a TV show) to watch after Annie Hall.
The 400 Blows (1959)
d. Francois Truffaut
Allen has made no secret of his love of Truffaut, and in particular his first film. Its effect on Annie Hall is the French New Wave feel and energy, but also the exploration of childhood that opens the film. Both films are also deeply personal explorations of their director’s lives.
d. Lewis Gilbert
Woody Allen played his part in the swinging sixties, but left it quickly. But he loved the films and Alfie’s key trick of talking to camera and breaking the fourth wall is aped throughout Annie Hall. Alfie also shares the idea of a man learning about his life through his lovers, although Michael Caine‘s Alfie is almost the opposite of the (similarly named) Alvy.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
d. Rob Reiner
We run the world’s biggest Woody Allen fansite. And maybe, just maybe, we have to concede that When Harry Met Sally might actually be the better rom com (maybe). Either way, it would seem odd if you found this list and not be madly in love with this film.
Yet, it is a brighter, more positive film than Annie Hall. There is a happy ending here. New York looks prettier. But this is a perfect film, and works as a lovely pair with Annie Hall. Together, they invented this whole New York romance genre thing.
Writer Nora Ephron and Allen were friends. Rob Reiner would also star in Bullets Over Broadway. Billy Crystal would appear in Deconstructing Harry. Carrie Fisher was in Hannah And Her Sisters. But Meg Ryan though has never worked with Allen. Which seems like a shame.
d. Doug Liman
One of the things about Annie Hall is that it is a break-up film. While there are hundreds of great breakup records, only a handful of cinema fits the bill. One of the most personal, and metropolitan, is Swingers.
Jon Favreau‘s wonderful first film script is full of the doubt and loss that comes from a break-up. It focusses on the friendship, and the self discovery. And Favreau would turn into a wonderful director in his own right, truly becoming an auteur. But director Doug Liman is no slouch either.
The Spectacular Now (2013)
d. James Ponsoldt
We always want to pick one film from the last couple of years. Trying to come up with a romantic comedy from that time was tough. In the end, we landed on a film about love, which featured two of the best onscreen characters, both fully developed, both trying to work it out.
Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are perfect as a couple of teens with all their problems on show, who yet find their own happiness together – cos they need the eggs. One of the sweetest films of recent years.
Master Of None (2015)
Annie Hall originally ran three hours, and was cut down into a film. Maybe if Allen cut it into a TV series, it would be something like this. Aziz Ansari’s deeply personal exploration of his turning into an adult, his ethnic identity, his family history and an epic romance – all the things that make Annie Hall great.
In the era of binge watching, you feel like you’ve fallen in and out and back into love. It is brutally honest, and like Allen – Ansari is also hopelessly in love with New York City. Lynn Cohen is the only Allen alum we could find, she appeared in Manhattan Murder Mystery and Deconstructing Harry.
This was probably the favourite thing we watched in 2015. And wonderfully, you can watch it right now on Netflix.
Let us know your picks for ‘Annie Hall‘ and if you agree with our picks. We are also looking for picks for Interiors, which is the next film we will cover. Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.