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Manhattan, Kansas

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tara Wray, Evie Wray
  • Directors: Tara Wray
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Carnivalesque Film
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,447 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The parent-child relationship is emotionally charged from the moment a person is born. But it becomes especially complex when your single parent is mentally unstable, as is the case for filmmaker Tara Wray. In her first film, Wray travels to rural Kansas in an attempt to reconnect with her mother, Evie, for the first time since Evie s psychotic breakdown five years earlier. She finds a parent still chasing her demons, both real and imagined, struggling to make a career for herself as an abstract artist and searching for the Geodetic Center of the United States, the finding of which, Evie says, will bring about world peace. When Tara takes it upon herself to help in her mother s search, it sets into motion a surprising chain of events that may just rescue Evie from a catastrophic fate and help Tara reconcile with her mother on different terms.


Simple and direct - and emotionally blunt and affecting - MANHATTAN, KANSAS acknowledges that love abides, even when forgiveness is not always easy or possible. --Film Society of Lincoln Center

Painfully intimate, MANHATTAN, KANSAS plumbs a contentious mother-daughter relationship, showing a family s journey from estrangement to reconciliation and posing lingering questions about the line between mental illness and unconventionality. It is an honest look about growing up and letting go ... it is everything a personal documentary should be. --The Austin Chronicle

Anyone who has ever struggled through a long-standing family rift, only to come back together in tentative fashion, should appreciate Tara s low-key and no-frills approach to storytelling. Her self-deprecating attitude only serves to amp up the reality of the tale. This is not a filmmaker aiming for a huge sweeping statement, but a girl with a camera hoping to reconnect with one lonely parent.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Desi on December 11, 2011
Format: DVD
This movie struck a cord with me, as I think it will anyone who feels they had a dysfunctional "first" family, and/or childhood.

There may be pain, sorrow, regrets, hurtful baggage, etc., but many of us continue to try and restore ourselves and such relationships to a more positive equilibrium well into adulthood. (For me, it's been a life-long quest.) Sort of like Evie is trying to do in her search for the geodetic center of the United States; sort of like Tara is trying to do with this film, which I see as an attempt to analyze and repair her relationship with Evie.

If "Leave it to Beaver" type families scare the crap out of you because of their sheer, terrifying, "Twilight Zone" normalcy, why not watch "Manhattan Kansas" and see if it doesn't remind you of someone; maybe yourself, maybe a family member (or two).

Miscellaneous observations: Tara owes a lot to her intelligent, well-read, pretty deep-thinking mom. Unlike hippie-chick mom Evie, however, Gen-X daughter Tara has found a way to channel all that creative energy in a hopefully more productive, lucrative manner. Note to all the free-spirits out there: Money might not buy happiness, but the lack of money pretty much guarantees...problems. And more responsible family members worrying about you endlessly.

There is a special surprise ending that I won't give away here. But it's well worth the price of this DVD. This movie is worth watching over and over and over. Five stars.
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