A Very Happy Couple

By Andreas

One of the most overt themes in Annie Hall is Alvy’s self-loathing, alongside its complement, his equally massive self-love. In Allen’s eyes, he’s a neurotic, nebbishy, dysfunctional man living in a virile Aryan’s world. He suffers for it, but it’s also his ticket to smug superiority. His troubled relationships with show business, Annie, and himself enable him to easily look down on the less anxiety-stricken simpletons around him. So we get brilliant scenes like this, blending satire with condescension, as Alvy polls a random couple off the street:

Alvy: You look like a very happy couple. Um, are you?

Woman: Yeah!

Alvy: Yeah? So, so, how do you account for it?

Woman: Uh, I’m very shallow and empty, and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say!

Man: And I’m exactly the same way.

The best part might be the woman’s tone of voice as she explains her relationship to Alvy. She sounds so plausibly like a generic middle-American woman telling him, say, her favorite brand of detergent or presidential candidate. But the words that Allen’s putting in her mouth are improbably stylized to the point of broad caricature, and that dialogue clashes with her naturalistic performance. The end result is funny, spiteful, and incisive, hurling vitriol at the average, everyday folks whom Allen hates so much. They may be happy now, but he gets the last laugh: his scathing jokes at their expense are immortalized on film.

1 Comment

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One response to “A Very Happy Couple

  1. Pingback: And Thus Begins The Woody Allen Blogathon! « the diary of a film awards fanatic

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