Would you let a twelve-year-old girl watch Annie Hall?

Tossing this out there while I wait for my friend to get back to me. Husband-wife-one-kid friends of ours will be visiting over Thanksgiving. Stacy, the mom, and I were discussing what movies we might watch. She’s never seen Annie Hall, and I own it, so that’s on the short list. And it may not be an issue after all: we may settle on something else, or Paige may not be interested/want to do something else. Still, AH is not an automatic go for a twelve-year-old, boy or girl.

There’s no nudity that I recall: Alvy and Annie are in bed together, but they’re wearing underwear. There’s a reference to oral sex, but Paige might be whooshed by it. What I’m more concerned about is the 1970s mores of it. Pot smoking is not portrayed in exactly a positive light, nether is cocaine use, but Jason, the husband/father, is sternly anti-drug for reasons of his own. (He wouldn’t be watching with us, but Paige probably would have his voice in her head.) And all these hookups but no sign of a condom. Annie braying “Okay, MY sexual problem!” and Alvy muttering “Mozart, James Joyce and sodomy,” in the movie line. Even if both parents are okay, Paige might squirm a bit.

Personally, if Paige were my daughter, I would probably wait a few years to show her AH. And whether at twelve or fifteen, I would still have a talk with her afterwards about how the seventies were a very different time, pre-AIDS, pre-#metoo, and about the portrayal of women as either shrews or unstable, and about Woody Allen and separating the art from the artist, like my husband does with Michael Jackson…You know, the more I think about it, even if Stacy says Yes, I’m going to override her.

But would you let your (hypothetical) twelve-year-old watch?

Probably not.

But I also can’t imagine that any twelve-year-old would be the least bit interested in watching it.


I don’t think the content would be, like, damaging for a 12 year old, but I can’t imagine any 12 year old actually being interested in the movie long enough to get to anything questionable.

I’m with Miller. Any movie where you have to tack on an explanation, would probably not be “in the wheelhouse” of a kid.

So loan the movie to Stacy and let her watch it (maybe with husband) and then decide. Every parent knows their own kid, and may have a better feel than you as to how a particular movie would affect their child.

Which brings up a good point: why is it your job to allow or censor Paige’s chance to see the ‘lobster behind the fridge’ scene…? It’s the parents’ job, let them do it so you don’t have to fret about this. I’d work with Stacy to make a list and then tell her to watch anything she’s not sure of ahead of time.

Idea: Ask Paige what she’d like to watch. Specify a comedy, or a feelgood movie if you want, but she might like sharing her tastes with you and her folks, instead of it always being the other way around.

FTR, when I was about that age, my parents took me to see Hannah and her Sisters in the theaters. I have no idea why - my mother doesn’t like movies in general, and my dad was never much of a Woody Allen fan, and I had no idea who he was, so I’m not sure why we were there. Only thing I remember is being bored out of my mind and us leaving before the movie was half over.

Yeah, your average twelve-year-old is likely to find “Annie Hall” boring and stupid.

If you must show a Woody Allen flick to a tween, I would suggest “Sleeper”.

My daughter was an early adolescent during the Clinton-Lewinsky era. Nothing about it seemed to shock her. On the other hand, I can’t imagine a 12-hyear old in 2021 actually enjoying Annie Hall, or even getting the non-sexual jokes (Marshall McLuhan? Really?)

I’ve seen “Annie Hall”, although it’s been a while. If there’s any issue with it, it’s what everyone else has said, and it’s that she probably won’t be interested in it.

Let the kid entertain herself. If the grownups want to watch a grownup movie together they should be able to. If the kid isn’t interested she can bring her own entertainment.

No modern 12-year-old is going to be unaware of the concept of oral sex unless they are home-schooled in a Faraday Cage.

Which also has very pre-HIV orgying and the orgasmotron. If you want something more all-ages from when Woody Allen was funny try the often overlooked ‘Take the Money and Run’. Otherwise, I can highly highly recommend Paddington or its sequel or go crazy and watch both. The 12 year old will thank you.

By 12 I wouldn’t have learned anything new about sex, drugs, or Marshall McLuhan from Annie Hall, though I wouldn’t have wanted to watch it with my parents.

In all my 66 years, I’ve never found Woody Allen either funny or interesting. I suspect Paige would be bored out of her mind.

At 12, I’d seen most of the 70s Woody Allen films, as well as Exorcist, Omen and I spit on your grave. I’d understand if it was 8 years old, but I’d say at 12 I had an adult brain.

Woody is very much an acquired taste, and one that I certainly never acquired even when he was current.

Good advice above.

Wasn’t the Marshall McLuhan gag in Manhattan rather than in Annie Hall?

Thanks @susan, I misremembered.

Agree with most of the above.

Personally, i think twelve is old enough that i wouldn’t try to “protect” a twelve year old from movies with sex or drugs. (I might want to protect them from movies with rape or other realistic violence.) But it’s up to the parents, and yeah, i can’t imagine the kid would want to watch that movie.

I would say it depends very highly on the individual 12 year old and their particular intellect and tastes. And even if they were someone who would appreciate Annie Hall, I think there would have to be a lot of contextualizing going on. “See, honey, this was what urban intellectual New Yorkers were like back in the 1970s, when your grandma was younger. Oh, and you might have heard about this Woody Allen guy. Well, a lot of people back then really thought he was interesting and funny…”