a monthly look at the faces
that have made history
The Diane/Woody years are a key part of PBS' new Woody Allen: A Documentary, and just as large a part of Keaton's new memoir Then Again, which showcases Keaton's ability to be at once daffy and deft. "Her specialty has been lyrical neurosis," wrote noted film critic Pauline Kael, in praise of Diane. (She went on to point out that this "can be deliriously reassuring to the nervous wrecks in the audience"—and for the record, this wreck agrees.) Part flower child, part square, her talent is for unearthing the steel in the willowy ones, and the softness in the steely.
Still, it's hard to put your finger on that Keaton something—the mousy bangs, the menswear, and all—which brings us back to Annie Hall. In one of the film's most famous scenes, Annie and Alvy stumble through first-date small talk, with Allen, in a genre-breaking move, broadcasting what they actually mean in subtitle underneath. They're discussing art—classic first-date bull. "They're wonderful, they have a…quality," Alvy says of her pictures. I'm talking about Keaton's pictures and I couldn't have said it better myself. Unless I cut the small talk and went to the subtitle: You are a great-looking girl.