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The comedian Alvy Singer is trying to understand why his relationship with Annie Hall ended a year ago. Growing up in New York, he vexed his mother with impossible questions about the emptiness of existence, but he was precocious about his innocent sexual curiosity.
Annie and Alvy are in line to see a Bergman film and another man loudly misinterprets the work of Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan himself steps in to correct the mistake. That night, Annie isn’t interested in having sex with him; instead they discuss Alvy’s first wife, Allison, with whom there was little sexual pleasure. His second marriage was to a New York intellectual, but their sexual relationship was not enjoyable for him. With Annie, it is different. The two of them have uproarious fun making a meal of boiled lobster together. Alvy enjoys mocking the unusual men that Annie had been involved with.
Alvy met Annie on the tennis court. After the game, their awkward small talk led her to offer him first a ride up town and then a glass of wine on her balcony. There, what seemed a mild exchange of trivial personal data is revealed in "mental subtitles" as an escalating flirtation.
Their first date follows Annie’s audition for a singer in a night club (she wraps herself around “It Had to be You”). Alvy suggests they kiss first thing to get it out of the way. After their lovemaking that night, Alvy is "a wreck", while Annie relaxes with a joint.
Soon Annie admits she loves him; he buys her books on death and claims his feelings for her are more than just love. When she moves in with him, it gets very tense.
Alvy feels strange when they visit her family in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, for Easter. He has never felt more Jewish than with her “Jew-hating” grandmother, and his imagined conversation between their two families reveals a gulf in style, substance, and background.
Finding her arm in arm with one of her college professors, Alvy argues with Annie whether this is the flexibility they had discussed. He searches for the truth of relationships, asking strangers on the street about the nature of love, questioning his formative years, until he becomes an animated Snow White to Annie’s evil queen. It’s over.
Alvy returns to dating, but the effort is marred by neurosis, bad sex, and finally an interruption from Annie, who insists he come over immediately. It turns out she needs him to kill a spider. A reconciliation follows, coupled with a vow to stay together come what may. However, their separate discussions with their therapists make it evident there is an unspoken divide. When Alvy accepts an offer to present an award on television, they fly out to Los Angeles, but on the return they agree that it’s not working.
After losing her to her record producer, he unsuccessfully attempts to rekindle the flame with a marriage proposal. Back in New York, he stages a play of this episode but changes the ending: now she accepts.
The last meeting for them is a wistful coda on New York's Upper West Side when they have both moved on to someone new. Alvy’s voice returns with a summation: love is essential, especially if it's neurotic. Annie torches "Seems Like Old Times" and the credits roll.