Annie Hall

  • Review Date: March 6, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1977
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Classic comedy about relationships has mature themes.
  • Review Date: March 6, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1977
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

Age(i)

2
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7
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9
10
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15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

For all the pessimism and neurotic behavior throughout the film, the importance of cherishing the time you have with someone you have dated -- even if it doesn't work out -- is discussed and shown, as well as finding joy in the silly and sometimes absurd moments of life.

Positive role models

For all his pessimism, neuroticism, and occasional flashes of misanthropy, Alvy Singer learns to cherish the time he has spent with Annie and finds humor in all of life's absurdities.

Violence

A character who isn't good at driving is shown backing into one car, then hitting two more before a police officer on a motorcycle shows up to take him to jail. In one joke, Woody Allen's character, Alvy, talks about how his grandparents were "raped by Cossacks."

Sex

Frequent discussions of sex, with references to masturbation, sex toys, and group sex. Characters are shown trying to have sex while under blankets and are often shown when it's finished discussing how it was. During a flashback scene, a young girl in a classroom tells the camera that she is now "into leather."

Language

Infrequent profanity: "ass," "a--hole." Frequent discussion of sex, with references to aphrodisiacs, sex toys, and masturbation. In a flashback scene to the 1940s, a maid from Harlem is referred to as "colored."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters are frequently drinking wine and smoking. Characters are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in bars, as well as in party settings. Marijuana is discussed as an aphrodisiac. In one scene, characters sit around a table while one character cuts lines of cocaine. During a flashback scene, a young boy tells the camera that he is now a "heroin addict."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the movie will seem too dated for many teens, but older kids serious about film may be interested. Though lively, witty, and watchable for older teens, parents should be cautioned that this is not a movie for kids. The movie would be at least a PG-13 -- a rating that did not exist in 1977 -- were it to appear today. Know that it's very much a product of the permissive 1970s; there is casual sex as well as drug use (a brief bit centers on cocaine). Much of the bedroom stuff is innuendo, with nothing explicitly shown, but there are zingers in the dialogue that could lead to some awkward questions from the young ones.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Woody Allen plays an obsessively worried comic and writer named Alvy Singer. Alvy talks right to the viewer whenever he feels like it, and he feels like telling us about his latest romantic meltdown, a breakup with a woman named Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Alvy is Jewish, twice divorced, and addicted to psychotherapy, and his idea of a date movie is a four-hour Holocaust documentary. Annie has none of these qualities, but they're instantly attracted to each other's quirkiness. Alvy nurtures Annie's singing career and gets her into night classes and therapy herself, but, on the downside, he refuses to commit and soon becomes jealous of her night-school instructor. Annie, meanwhile, thinks Alvy will always look down on her for not being as intellectual as he is. Alvy and Annie go through a cycle of splits and reconciliations. The final breakup occurs when Annie's vocal talents get the attention, both romantic and professional, of a music producer (Paul Simon) based in sunny Los Angeles, a place that New Yorker Alvy loathes. Much later Alvy and Annie meet again, but only as friends, and Alvy is left to conclude that love affairs are worth the trouble and losses that, for him anyway, seem inevitable.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This was the movie that beat out the original Star Wars for the Best Picture Oscar. Do a thousand martyred Obi-Wan Kenobi action figures cry out for revenge? No, because ANNIE HALL really is a masterwork and an even more impressive one when you consider it didn't trigger a flood of Lucas-esque copycats (except in a fad for Annie Hall-inspired mismatched-wardrobe ensembles). Woody Allen's sophisticated take on relationships is lively and fleet enough (complete with an animated interlude that parodies Disney) to amuse adolescents in particular. Doubtless, though, it would be PG-13 -- a rating that did not exist in 1977 -- were it to appear today.

Woody Allen's long career has had different stages. Around the time Annie Hall was made, Allen was transitioning from broad, slapstick-heavy spoofs such as Sleeper and Bananas toward more personal, introspective comedies and dramas. Annie Hall may not have giant chickens or silly robot costumes, but it retains a plethora of one-liners and hilarious, attention-getting narrative devices, such as flashbacks that allow the adult Woody to sit in on his elementary-school days and argue Freud with the exasperated kids in his old homeroom. As a moralist, Allen -- too obviously -- has few solutions. But he asks many pointed questions. In one of a series of person-on-the-street interviews Alvy asks a couple who are content with each other what their secret is. They declare that they're shallow and stupid. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether this '70s classic is still relevant or not.

  • How have "relationship movies" changed over time?

  • What are the hallmarks of Woody Allen's style of filmmaking?

  • The late musician Frank Zappa held the opinion that the smarter you are, the unhappier you are. You could discuss this notion with kids; hopefully it won't provide them with the best excuse yet for failing grades.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 7, 1977
DVD release date:March 7, 2000
Cast:Carol Kane, Diane Keaton, Woody Allen
Director:Woody Allen
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Comedy
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:sexual situations and discussions, mature themes, drug use, mild expletives

This review of Annie Hall was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old May 26, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

great movie

i love this movie. it was funny. Woody Allen is pretty funny.
Teen, 13 years old Written byBestPicture1996 August 28, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

One of the best comedies I've ever seen

This matches if not succeeds the previous holder of my fav comedy: "I Love You, Man." It's very funny and dry, much like my sense of humor, and is more like Woody Allen's commentary on dating, speaking stuff you and I are afraid to say, and it's ingenious when there are, for instance, subtitles to what Singer and Hall are really saying, and when Singer breaks the 4th wall and talks to the camera.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bywho3697cares April 26, 2009
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
I love Annie Hall.

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