Study Guide

Annie Hall Genre

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Comedy; Romance; Drama


What happens when you stuff a handful of comedy subgenres into a blender and hit "pulsate"? You get Annie Hall.

In the simplest terms, it's a comedy because it's supposed to make you laugh until your pancreas hurts. But with all of Alvy's quotable quips about life and love in 1975, it's also an observational comedy that relies on wit and wordplay.

When Alvy travels to Los Angeles and makes fun of Tony's L.A. stereotype party pals, it dips into character comedy. And all of the fantastical elements, like cartoon Alvy bickering with Snow White's Wicked Queen, make it a surreal comedy, too. After all, it's not everyday that a grown man time-travels back to first grade to chide his former teacher—Miss Reed, you got served.


The early days of Alvy and Annie's relationship are filled with passion, riverside kisses, and the occasional rogue lobster: the romantic stuff that Hallmark Channel movies are made of.

Their romance may be doomed from the start, but it's still very much a romance. Emotions run high, and Alvy and Annie encounter all of the obstacles common to romantic flicks: temptation, in the form of Pam the Rolling Stone reporter and David, Annie's unseen professor; tension, like when Alvy and Annie argue about whether or not she should keep her old apartment… and a boat load of differences in compatibility.

It's that last one that ultimately causes the S.S. Hall-Singer to run aground. Annie changes; Alvy doesn't.


Drama is all about conflict.

In Annie Hall, Alvy explains his problem right up front: Annie dumped him and he doesn't understand why. This conflict propels the entire plot of the movie and leads to a score of other signposts of a dramatic movie, like the paranoia he feels about Annie and her professor, the depression he goes through when things between him and Annie cool off, and the pain he stomachs when Annie turns down both his marriage proposal and his beloved hometown because she no longer hearts N.Y. (or Alvy).

The realism in Annie Hall should also set your drama sensors off. Alvy and Annie are both relatable characters, and the foibles of their failed relationship hit close to home for the audience. Not all relationships have spiders the size of Buicks that need to be slayed, but they all have their ups and downs.

For Alvy, the comedy and drama come in equal measures. He wrings a ton of laughs out of his painful predicament. Still, Annie Hall is a bittersweet tale in the end. But hey, things could always be worse: You could be in a relationship with Duane.

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