The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress.The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress.The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend's mistress.
If this all seems very confusing to you, then you're not alone. Just as in 'Annie Hall,' Allen plays the hopeless romantic who is struggling desperately to understand the maddening complexity of human relationships. Though Tracy is only seventeen years old, she is arguably the most honest and mature of the women in Isaac's life; nonetheless, he doesn't treat her seriously. In his mind, anything that she says is quite obviously influenced by the naivety and downright ignorance of the young. Their relationship was never meant to be anything more than a brief "fling," and so he feels no guilt for seeing another woman behind his back, an act that makes him livid when it ultimately happens to him.
'Manhattan' was shot in beautiful crisp black-and-white by Gordon Willis, who has also worked on, among countless other films, 'Annie Hall' and the three installments of 'The Godfather.' The cinematography offers New York City a romantic 1940s feel, reminiscent of how Allen claims to remember the city as a child: "Maybe it's a reminiscence from old photographs, films, books and all that. But that's how I remember New York. I always heard Gershwin music with it, too. In 'Manhattan' I really think that we that's me and cinematographer Gordon Willis succeeded in showing the city. When you see it there on that big screen it's really decadent."
Mysteriously, this film remains the least-liked by the director himself, though, at the same time, it was also his most commercially successful. As you've no doubt already noticed from this review, 'Manhattan' is often likened to 1977's 'Annie Hall,' perhaps due to the repeated casting of Allen and Keaton (a not uncommon occurrence) or its similar attempt to uncover the elusive secrets behind love and relationships. In terms of film-making style, however, the films are quite dissimilar. Unlike the highly-energetic 'Annie Hall' which cut back and forward in time, visited old memories, broke the fourth wall and made conversations with passing extras 'Manhattan' boasts a more classical approach quiet, softly-spoken and accompanied by a wistfully slow jazzy soundtrack, also relying heavily on the works of George Gershwin.
- May 11, 2007