Manhattan Cover The place-name 'Manhattan' has many different meanings behind it. It is the name of a state within the bowels of New York City. It is the name of a drink which tastes somewhat bitty. And it is a name of a film that is very-very silly. This one - Directed by and Starring Woody Allen, with Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, and Meryl Streep. It was made in 1979, and lasts for 92 minutes.


Isaac Davis (Woody Allen) is a 42 year old ex-television comedy writer, who loves to write books about New York City, was married twice, twice divorced, with one son – and is now dating a 17 year old girl called Tracy (Mariel Hemingway).

Also, on top of that, his best friend Yale (Michael Murphy), is married to great gal called Emily (Anne Byrne), whilst having a secret affair with a writer called Mary Wilkie (Diane Keaton).

Not a very nice thing to do, right? And I suppose that is why when Isaac is first introduced to Mary, his initial impression of her is a very negative one you see. She comes across snobbish, pompous, and a woman who is making his friends life a living hell.

However, one evening, Isaac runs into Mary again, whist they are both attending a Equal Rights Amendment fund-raising event, at the Museum of Modern Art. And, do you know what? This second time he meets her, he finds Mary surprisingly charming – pleasant even.

In fact, Isaasc's new found fondness for Mary, make him start to distance himself from Tracy – going so far as to warns Tracy, that their relationship isn't that serious, and encourages her to go to London to study acting.

Funnily enough, around the same time that this is happening, Yale breaks up from Mary, and then suggests to Isaac that he should ask her out.

So what does Isaac do? Correct - as Tracy is too young for him anyway, he starts going out with Mary - and they virtually end up living together.

Nice turn of events, huh? Well? Maybe to Isaac's second wife - Jill (Meryl Streep) - who has recently written and published a book about their prior relationship together. Moreover, Emily seems to like her too - especially when her, Isaac, Mary, and Yale, all go out together one brisk summers day. But as for Yale on the other hand - well - over time, he starts having feeling for Mary once more.

And to make matter worse, the feeling appears to be mutual.

Though, that is why what next transpires can only happen on a wet and windy day on the streets of Manhattan. As love is lost - love is found - love flies away - and at the end of the day, only Isaac knows the moral of this story. 

Please note, I have to mention that I am a big Woody Allen fan - and I just love his work (well most of his work anyway). So you have to keep in mind that before you read my review, it could be a little biased.


Just kidding!

Manhattan Movie
To put it bluntly, 'Manhattan' is a black and white film with a lot of colorful words in it. Heck, the way in which each of the characters express themselves, its as though an artist has splashing paint upon canvas - with each syllable used conveying a character portrait of the nth degree.

Woody character - Isaac - (as always) is a klutz who fumbles his way through life with a neurotic and a somewhat charming disposition. Plus, even when he is being cruel, you can't help but smile at the same time.

Diane’s character on the other hand - Mary - is portrayed rather differently. At the beginning of this film - like Isaac's perception of her  - you can’t help but think that she’s a snob. But as time goes on, yet again, you can’t help but have an affinity towards her - also like Isaac. I just found that Diane Keaton just has effortless way of acting that makes you fall for her - even if you are dating a 17 year old school girl, ha!

Oh! And as for the school girl? Well? Mariel Hemingway plays the young girl who is the most grown up out off the bunch. She holds her own in this rather yo-yo romantic tale, making her wiser beyond her years.

The Cast of Manhattan

Honestly, I can not praise 'Manhattan' enough. It is gradual where the narrative is concerned - it is bold where the humor is concerned - and in addition to this, it just has that polished sheen that makes this movie all the more special. Here, check out my favorite scene from this film (but don't, if you have not watched it before - as it may spoil the ending).

You see, for me, what Woody has managed to do with 'Manhattan', is to make a film that perfectly mixes style, pathos, personality, and narration, all together, whilst at the same time making it appear as if it was a meandering and highfalutin story.

It is none of these negatives though. It's a classic comedy tale for it’s time. This is the film which all of Woody Allen's other works have been compared to ever since. This is the film that gave the term 'rom-com' a respectable name. This is the film which made comedy into an art form. And this is the film that all the other comedy's want to beat.

Woody in Manhattan

But they don't. Not in a Manhattan mile.


MANHATTAN MANHATTAN Reviewed by David Andrews on January 31, 2012 Rating: 5
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