Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1977. Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions, Rollins-Joffe Productions. Screenplay by Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman. Cinematography by Gordon Willis. Produced by Charles H. Joffe. Production Design by Mel Bourne. Costume Design by Ruth Morley. Film Editing by Wendy Greene Bricmont, Ralph Rosenblum. Academy Awards 1977. Golden Globe Awards 1977. National Board of Review Awards 1977. New York Film Critics Awards 1977.
La dee da, la la. Woody Allen takes a sharp turn away from slapstick and gives birth to comedy genius. Natural, observant dialogue and moments of romantic poignancy chart the relationship between an insecure television producer (Allen) and his flighty, free-spirited girlfriend (Diane Keaton). He begins by telling us that they broke up, and then in examining his childhood, his previous marriages and memories of him and his lovely lady together, he comes up with his own flaws and shortcomings but no hard answers. This was the first in a long line of slice-of-life classics that Allen would make in the seventies and eighties, and the result is Oscar-winning movie magic (though the more negative reactions to his change of pace can be seen in 1980’s Stardust Memories). At the core of it is the deeply moving melancholy of lost love, a soft centre that would never been seen again in even the best of what he would make in the years to come.