Every genre of film started somewhere and most started with silent film. The western, comedy, even action and war movies. As time went on and as styles, advanced and changed, genres started to mix, different types of movies started to emerge. One of these combinations is the ever popular, romantic comedy. The romantic comedy has been around since movies began having sound and talking. There have always been light hearted romance movies that women and girls love because it allows them to daydream or fall in love all over again.
Things changed for the romance movie in 1977 when Woody Allen released one of his greatest films, Annie Hall. Up until this time, Woody had been known for being a stand up comedian and for his film career which consisted of hilarious jokes and gags. His films were slapstick style comedies that also had a silent film feel to them like a Charlie Chaplin type. Annie Hall would mark a turn in his filmmaking career. Whereas in his previous films, the story was driven by the jokes and humor, Annie Hall would have the jokes be driven by the story.
Annie Hall is the story of two people who begin falling in love and the development of their relationship from the fun, easy beginning through the hardships that come with any normal relationship. We see as they change as individuals and attempt to keep the relationship going despite these changes.
What makes Annie Hall different from all the previous light hearted romance films before it, is the humorous mind of Allen and his great ability to weave that into the story and the relationship of the couple as they go through the ups and downs of their relationship. There is a real feeling between the characters that you can identify with.
Annie Hall was a game changer because of its ability to be a romance movie that was and is, enjoyed immensely by both men and women. Seeing the characters grow and change the natural way people do, is why it was so popular and relatable.
When Annie Hall took home four major Oscar awards (including two for Woody for writing and directing) and shocked everyone by beating out the juggernaut that was Star Wars for best picture, it solidified Woody Allen as a true filmmaker and storyteller. He would go on to explore his abilities, but even after almost forty years, it is still considered one of his masterpieces.
Almost every romantic comedy has a trace of Annie Hall in it. It changed the genre from light hearted and goofy, to one with substance and heart. No romantic comedy has achieved what it did and to this day only Woody Allen has continued to make this style stay respected. I guess in a lot of ways Woody has become his own genre and that really started with Annie Hall.