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Although Woody Allen had still to acquire great technical strength as a film-maker, this was the movie where he found his own singular voice, a voice that echoes across events with a mixture of exuberance and introspection.
Woody Allen fans will buy it 100%. Never before has the diminutive comedian been so urbane, so open - so funny. And with lovely Diane Keaton as consort, it becomes well-nigh irresistible (especially if you find Keaton as well-nigh irresistible as I do).
Allen tosses out the usual romantic comedy conventions for his own brand of humor, but under the gags and self-effacing jokes is the portrait of two people who fall in love and then... fall out of love.
Allen joins the Catskills tummler's anything-for-a-laugh antics with a Eurocentric art-house self-awareness and a psychoanalytic obsession in baring his sexual desires and frustrations, romantic disasters, and neurotic inhibitions.
While its consonance comes largely from Gordon Willis's photography and Allen's spacious sense of New York, pathos comes at best from Keaton's evaporative performance and a slightly sentimental conception.