Manhattan (1979)

ManhattanManhattan Review

Manhattan is a 1979 romantic comedy film directed by Woody Allen and starring himself as well as Diane Keaton. It is one of his most well regarded works for good reasons.

It is about a 42-year-old man who dates a 17-year-old girl, but eventually falls in love with his best friend’s mistress. That premise definitely sounds cringeworthy. And the movie is like that to some degree as it is a typical love triangle that is almost impossible to happen in real life, but is typical for a Woody Allen flick. Also, I won’t lie but the age difference between the two in the relationship is creepy.

And although that certainly wasn’t pleasant, the movie still largely manages to overcome those problems mainly due to a clever script and fantastic humor. And also great character development. The screenplay is superb, it is never boring, never rushed and it has just the right amount of dialogue as well as calm moments accompanied by a wonderful score. The beginning wasn’t as good, but the whole second act was phenomenal and filled with many sophisticated conversations and great performances. I loved the ending as well and although it somewhat felt weird and came out of nowhere, it is still so cliché-ridden that I enjoyed it immensely.

The characters are, as I said before, phenomenal across the board. And despite those impossible love connections and convoluted relationships between them, they felt like real people, flawed and realistic. Isaac is of course the standout character here. He is a typical, but still great Woody Allen character and his neurotic and hypochondriac behavior lends to much of the film’s humor. Mary is fantastic as well, so likable and so grounded in reality and the relationship between the two is excellent. Yale wasn’t as memorable, but Tracy is such a sympathetic and lovable girl that you really feel for her.

The acting is absolutely fantastic. Allen is excellent in the lead role, but Diane Keaton also did such a good job as well. However, it is Mariel Hemingway who stole the show. She is so natural and so phenomenal in her role that she really surprised me and naturally deserved her Oscar nomination.

Manhattan is astounding to look at. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous with a couple of instantly recognizable and simply beautiful shots. And the black-and-white photography choice was fitting for this film. It is well acted and wonderfully directed, but it is above all so tightly paced and edited with not a single wasted or rushed sequence and that I enjoyed a lot. The score is so incredible and George Gershwin‘s music suited this material wonderfully. The humor is fantastic and is one of the biggest reasons to see this movie in my opinion. It is filled with so many sophisticated and hilarious lines and I laughed many times. It is also always realistic, always unpredictable and never clichéd. The tone is well handled with romance and comedy elements wonderfully incorporated along with some dramatic moments as well. The dialogue is superb and the film is really smart. Yes, the creepiness factor is definitely present and it ruined the experience for me, but they still don’t go too far with it and instead of stupid sex scenes, clever conversations and realistic and emotional scenes are present which I really loved. And it is definitely one of the director’s best works and one of the very best of his earlier works. It isn’t as good as ‘Annie Hall‘, but it is definitely better than ‘Interiors’.

Manhattan is such a good movie that is unfortunately creepy and too convoluted in premise, but is still so grounded in its characters, it has fantastic acting across the board, the cinematography and score are both terrific and the movie has such a sophisticated, cliché-ridden screenplay, great conversations and really good humor.

My Rating – 4

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Interior & Exterior Stills from Manhattan

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Posted in Comedy, MOVIE REVIEWS, Romantic Comedy and tagged , , , , , , .

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