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
During the fireworks in the opening sequence the screen goes black several times - but not completely: Two bright circles - glasses - can be seen as a reflection (probably because the sequence was filmed from behind a window) and there is also a very slight after-image of the person wearing the glasses who might even be the director. 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 »
'Manhattan' looks beautiful in black and white. It is definitely Woody Allen's best. Two years after 'Annie Hall' we have Woody Allen and Diane Keaton together again. Allen plays Isaac who is dating the 17-year old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway). He has a friend, the married Yale (Michael Murphy), who is having an affair with Mary (Diane Keaton). Isaac falls in love with Mary and stops seeing Tracy to start things with Mary. In a sub-plot we have the ex-wife of Isaac publishing a book about their sex-life. Now she is living with a woman. The ex-wife Jill is played by Meryl Streep. Her appearances are short and not very often but she is more than great in her scenes.
'Manhattan' is even better than the great 'Annie Hall'. The black and white cinematograpy, done with a good reason, gives a little extra to the movie. Like I said Streep is terrific and so are Allen, Keaton and especially Hemingway (she was nominated for an Oscar). The monologues Allen had in 'Annie Hall' are still present, smart, interesting and funny. A great story, very intelligent, of course written (and directed) by Woody Allen himself.
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