Movie Name: Manhattan
Studio: United Artists
Release Date(s): April 25, 1979
MPAA Rating: R
Isaac Davis (Woody Allen) has a reasonably nice life. He writes for a popular television show, he has a young girlfriend named Tracy (Mariel Hemingway) and good friends in Yale (Michael Murphy) and his wife Emily (Anne Byrne). Despite his seemly nice life, Isaac is unhappy. His ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep) left him for a woman and is now writing a book about the experience. When Isaac meets the woman that Yale is having an affair with, Isaac hates Mary Wilkie (Diane Keaton)…but things can change. Isaac quits his comfortable job and dumps Tracy when he starts seeing Mary…but can he be happy?
Directed and written by Woody Allen, Manhattan flows to the music of George Gershwin. Shot in black-in-white, the movie was nominated for two Academy Awards one for Mariel Hemingway for a Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay.
Manhattan is a nice, typical Woody Allen movie. The story is pretty uneventful, Woody Allen over achieving all over the place with women who don’t mind his prattle. The picture however looks great and the script is quite smartly written. Everyone seems to bounce from relationship to relationship casually. Manhattan seems a lot subtler than some of his other films and he seemed to reduce his complaining (as much as Woody Allen can do it).
Like many Woody Allen films, the actors within the movie excel. Woody Allen was actually pretty good in some of the more tender scenes where he wasn’t rambling. Keaton once again provides a nice foil for Allen by being someone who seems to be able to tune him out and matches his problems. Mariel Hemingway however seems to be the most adult of the characters who all are so self absorbed that they can’t see they are acting like children. She steals her scenes with her innocence. It does creep me out however that in a lot of Woody Allen’s movies, he talks about being with younger girls like Hemingway, and well you know he turned out.
If you don’t like Woody Allen, you won’t like Manhattan. I am not a huge fan and I think this movie is a bit more accessible than some of his other films. Allen just isn’t as on in this movie and for me that works. It might not have the clever banter that is in Annie Hall, but it does have great relationships…another Woody Allen trait.
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