Manhattan (1979)

manhattan poster 1979 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Nice black-in-white presentation, great use of Gershwin, Mariel Hemingway

Woody Allen is still Woody Allen if you aren't a fan

Movie Info

Movie Name: Manhattan

Studio: United Artists

Genre(s): Comedy/Romance

Release Date(s): April 25, 1979

MPAA Rating: R


This is a lot of fun guys…lets see if we can screw it all up!

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?


Hey Annie, I mean Mary…how’s it going?

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).


So if we were ever to hook-up, would you be angry if I traded you in for an even younger model at some point in the future?

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.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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