Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Forty-two year old Isaac Davis has a romanticized view of his hometown, New York City, most specifically Manhattan, as channeled through the lead character in the first book he is writing, despite his own Manhattan-based life being more of a tragicomedy. He has just quit his job as a hack writer for a bad television comedy, he, beyond the ten second rush of endorphins during the actual act of quitting, now regretting the decision, especially as he isn't sure he can live off his book writing career. He is paying two alimonies, his second ex-wife, Jill Davis, a lesbian, who is writing her own tell-all book of their acrimonious split. The one somewhat positive aspect of his life is that he is dating a young woman named Tracy, although she is only seventeen and still in high school. Largely because of their differences a big part of which is due to their ages, he does not see a long term future with her. His life has the potential to be even more tragicomical when he meets journalist Mary...Written by
In the first scene at Elaine's, as Isaac is beginning to say something, two people (presumably customers of the restaurant, as it was running while they were shooting) walk in front of the camera. Isaac laughs, and quickly recovers with an impromptu remark about how his girlfriend has to go and do homework. See more »
[music: the opening of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Voiceover]
Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. Eh uh, no, make that he, he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. Uh, no, let me start this over.
Chapter One: He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on...
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One of the very few Woody Allen films to not have traditional opening credits, save the production company bumper (United Artists), and the film title MANHATTAN is seen as a long vertical flashing bright neon sign, located on the side of a New York City building, and is seen for under seven seconds just before Woody Allen narrates his first line. See more »
I often debate with myself which of Woody Allen's films is his best and the debate invariably comes down to a choice between this, and Annie Hall, with Manhattan coming out on top. Although Annie Hall is a funnier film, and perhaps a lighter and more accessible film (although Manhattan is by no means dark), and perhaps even a more celebrated film, for me Manhattan in the quintessential Allen movie. All the elements are present; Allen's neurotic New Yorker, all intellectual angst; the romanticised Big Apple, swaying to the sounds of George Gershwin, never having looked better than in Gordon Willis' black and white photography; the humorous deconstruction of adult relationships. The film centres around Allen's relationship with the seventeen year old Tracy, which, thanks to a sweet performance by Mariel Hemingway, doesn't come across as inappropriate as it sounds. Keaton is excellent as always as the yin to Allen's yang, and there is good support from Michael Murphy and Meryl Streep.
I can understand why Woody Allen is an acquired taste, but what I would say to those who question the man's genius is this; "you've gotta learn to have a little faith in people".
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