Study Guide

Annie Hall What's Up With the Ending?

What's Up With the Ending?

Annie walks away. Alvy walks away. The end. Phew. What a satisfying ending, right?

No? You want more? Sorry, Shmoopers.

Annie Hall's ending may not tie up the loose ends of Alvy and Annie's relationship with a big red bow, but that's just because that's how relationships… actually end. Will they meet again? Maybe. We don't know. Let's face it: Unless your ex moves to Djibouti or is killed in a tragic hot air balloon accident, there's always a chance that you'll run into them again—whether you intend to or not.

It's also entirely possible that you'll never, ever see them again. So Annie Hall may not end with a tidy, concrete conclusion, but that's because its portrayal of a defunct romance is realistic.

It's also bittersweet. As Peter J. Bailey notes in his book The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen, even Alvy and Annie's empty lunch table is touched with nostalgia, "their used plates and cups evoking an aura of pleasure spent and things used up."

And if a two-top full of dirty dishes doesn't buy you a seat on the Good Ol' Days Train, then the montage of moments from their affair will. While Annie's version of "Seems Like Old Times" plays, we see Alvy and Annie's highlight reel: lobsters, lingerie, and riverside kisses. This sentimental stroll down memory lane mirrors the way Alvy looks back on, and processes, his time with Annie. He plays their relationship back like a movie, hitting pause on only the most memorable scenes.

Alvy being Alvy—always the comic—he also likens his love affair with Annie to a joke about a guy who won't lock up his crazy brother who thinks he's a chicken because the guy needs the eggs. Those lobsters, lingerie, and riverside kisses we just mentioned? Those are the "eggs" of Alvy's relationship with Annie.

ALVY: Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. You know, they're totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and... but, I guess we keep going through it because, most of us need the eggs.

Thus, Alvy finally solves the mystery he introduced in the first few minutes of the movie: Why did he and Annie break up? There isn't one specific, easy reason. Relationships are complicated and thoroughly absurd. They defy reason, but, ultimately, we need them. In the end, Alvy's just happy to have known Annie… and he made some pretty rad relationship omelets with all those much-needed eggs.

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