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Home > Annie Hall (1977) and Midnight in Paris (2011): A Comparison in Films

Annie Hall (1977) and Midnight in Paris (2011): A Comparison in Films

Midnight in Paris

Seeking Love is What It’s All About

Annie Hall, directed by Woody Allen, is a comedy-drama film released in the United States in 1977. In the movie, Alvy Singer, a comedian played by Woody Allen, talks about his love story with Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton. When the movie communicates to its audience, director Allen does not utilize a linear storyline to talk about the story chronologically; instead, he utilizes narration interspersed with flashbacks to talk about how he met and fell in love with Annie. It appears strong to the audience as the viewers watch the flashbacks and then find the differences between the past and the present in the love experience between Alvy and Annie. 

As the past and the present label the main storyline in Annie Hall, traveling back to the past also conveys the main storyline in Midnight in Paris. Taking on the journey to the past reveals a different life for the protagonist and provides an answer to love. 

Midnight in Paris is a comedy-fantasy film directed by Woody Allen in 2011. In this film, the protagonist Gil, played by Owen Wilson, travels to Paris with his girlfriend Inez and her family. Gil encounters a supernatural experience during this trip and meets his adoring writers. This experience changes his life and love for Inez. In this film, director Allen uses a chronological order to present the story and reveal the change in Gil’s feelings toward different characters. 

The Storylines in Annie Hall and Midnight in Paris

The story plots in both films align with the storytelling style of director Allen. Rather than a consistent and chronological timeline, Allen breaks the timeline in Annie Hall by constantly adding flashbacks of the protagonist, Alvy, to explain the process of how he met and fell in love with Annie. The film’s tempo is fast, with quick cuts between flashbacks, but director Allen also leaves enough time and space for the audience to instill sad emotions. As a comedy-fiction film, Allen utilizes lines to express thoughts and feelings from Alvy towards his love and emotional life. This strategy succeeds in this film because it is not merely a film about love but also a comedy movie. Hence, Allen utilizes this creative style to express the feelings of the characters and maintain the elements of comedy.

Midnight in Paris, on the other hand, does not have any flashbacks between Gil and Inez, but the audience can speculate the love that Inez and Gil had has faded away. Although the technique used to describe the love story and history is different for both films, the essence of finding love is identical. The directing style of presenting stories is consistent between these two films, while Allen mainly utilizes flashbacks to embed storylines in Annie Hall, while he mainly utilizes reactions and interactions to tell the story in Midnight in Paris. The storylines in both timelines of the past and present have included similar characters or situations. In this case, Gil finds answers to the dilemmas in the present by asking the artists in the past. 

Woody Allen a comparison between Annie Hall and Midnight in Paris

The Performances that Draw Audiences Into the Stories 

In the modern world, people have favorite writers, actors, dancers, and music composers, and Midnight in Paris will be the best movie to connect with the person you admire. The performances of the actors in Midnight in Paris are effective as they make the characters vivid to the audience and provide an opportunity for the audience to connect with their favorite writers, music composers, and filmmakers from different times, like close friends. The performances of the actors are incredible as they present the characteristics of famous writers, songwriters, and other artists. As Gil interacts with his admired literature scholars, the audience will be able to delve into the world and travel back to the golden age. The performances in this movie are believable. The audience can speculate about the relationship between Gil and other characters by looking into the interactions. Since Gil is a character pursuing romance instead of merely focusing on business and commercial writing, his fiance, however, is a person who values a wealthy material life by observing her interaction with her mother, which smothers Gil. 

Diane Keaton, who plays Annie in Annie Hall, extraordinarily presents the change in Annie from an unscrupulous girl to an intelligent and successful woman. With Allen’s storytelling technique, the audience will be able to see the differences in Annie’s sense of values. When Allen first met with Annie, Keaton performed as an unscrupulous girl by being a bad driver and relentlessly talking. After Annie dives into the industry and starts her career, her facial expressions present that she is more business-driven and loses the passion of love in Alvy. 

The Cinematography of Presenting Inner Conflicts in the Characters 

In these two films, the major component that director Allen highlights is the conflict of whether to continue love with the spouse or be courageous to end the relationship and start a new life. Hence, in order to depict this inner conflict, Allen utilizes various close-up shots to demonstrate that the character is introspecting about their current life and thinking about changing to a different life. Even more, director Allen also uses the composition of putting two characters together in the framing while they are thinking differently. Most importantly, in Annie Hall, Allen creatively utilizes inner voices to express the thoughts of the two characters. Not only that, but Allen uses subtitles to express the inner thoughts of the characters as well as to explain the situations to the audience. In Annie Hall, it involves traveling past to present flashbacks to the audience. Unlike cutting directly to the past, the main characters are involved in the flashbacks by being in the scene in the third-person view and commenting on the past. 

In Midnight in Paris, Allen mainly uses props and lights to present the past by building themes corresponding to the age and bringing the audience to different ages. The warm lights shining on the gold short skirts represent Gil entering the golden age. Allen also utilizes camera movement to present the interaction between characters. For example, as Paul shows his knowledge of art, the camera excludes Gil to present that he does not belong to this group. 

The Final Thoughts About Annie Hall and Midnight in Paris 

Overall, both of the films are effective in depicting two male characters struggling with love and the courage to change their lives. Although the movies do not give a definite answer to the audience about whether the two protagonists made correct decisions, it actually reflects the main purpose of the films from director Allen, that love is about searching and exploring. 

Annie Hall and Midnight in Paris are available for purchase on Prime Video, YouTube, iTunes, and Apple TV.

Owen wilson in Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris (2011) Official Sony Pictures Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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