Study Guide

Annie Hall Versions of Reality

Versions of Reality

ALVY: I have a hyperactive imagination. My mind tends to jump around a little. I have some trouble between fantasy and reality.

Alvy doesn't mince words. Separating between fact and fiction is tough for him.

ALVY: Boy, if life were only like this!

Alvy says this after Marshall McLuhan magically shows up at the movie theater to shoot down the obnoxious professor. Personally, we'd like to have James Earl Jones on standby to correct everybody who misquotes Darth Vader's "No, I am your father" line from Empire Strikes Back.

DUANE: Can I confess something? I tell you this because, as an artist, I think you'll understand. Sometimes, when I'm driving on the road at night I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The... flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.

ALVY: Right. Well, I have to—I have to go now, Duane, because I, I'm due back on the planet Earth.

Clearly, Alvy's not the only person who has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy. Somehow, it's a lot creepier when Duane does it, though.

WICKED QUEEN: We never have any fun anymore.

ALVY: How can you say that?

WICKED QUEEN: Why not? You're always leaning on me to improve myself.

ALVY: You're just upset. You must be getting your period.

WICKED QUEEN: I don't get a period. I'm a cartoon character. Can't I be upset once in a while?

No, not in Alvy's version of reality you can't… especially when Alvy is imagining a cartoon version of Annie herself.

ALVY: I'm at the Los Angeles airport. I flew in. I flew in to see you. Hey, listen, can we not debate this on, on the telephone because, you know, I, I feel that I got a temperature and I'm getting my chronic Los Angeles nausea again. I don't feel so good.

This is a callback to the spell Alvy had at the hotel after he first traveled to Los Angeles and spent time with Rob in the editing bay as Rob added a laugh track to his sitcom. Alvy got sick, but the doctor couldn't find anything wrong with him.

ALVY: So, you want to get married or what?

ANNIE: No. We're friends. I want to remain friends.

ALVY: Okay. Check please!

Alvy cooked up this whole fantasy of what would happen if he made the grand gesture of going out to L.A. to bring Annie back to New York, but their meeting doesn't go down like that. At all. And when it's crystal clear that reality doesn't match his fantasy, Alvy gets impatient and frustrated.

ALVY: What do you want? It was my first play. You know, you know how you're always trying to get things to come out perfect in art because it's real difficult in life.

Here, Alvy sums up one of the film's main themes: Don't like reality? No worries. Just create a fantasy to replace it!