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So when "Manhattan" was released, Woody's first "true" widescreen picture (so much so that Woody insisted this film NEVER be released on video or shown on television without the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen), I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
I discovered that "Manhattan" had a completely different tone than "Annie Hall." It was more serious, but still hilarious. I became so enraptured by its themes, its music and its atmosphere that I felt, until I saw "Goodfellas" in the fall of 1990 and "Schindler's List" in late 1993, that I had witnessed something that comes along only once or twice a generation...and that's true greatness on film. I paid to see "Manhattan" at least four times during its initial run in 1979. I had never done this before, even when I include those popcorn pictures I had seen several times put out by Spielberg and Lucas during the 1970s. I found "Manhattan" simply incredible, so "on the mark," so revelatory about the weaknesses of people, especially so-called "intelligent" people.
Rather than go over the plot, I believe "Manhattan's" themes include the following:
1. intellectualism is overrated.
2. romance is illogical and unscientific.
3. words don't always match our actions.
4. moral structure is a man-made invention.
5. fidelity is an optimistic ideal.
6. skeletons in the closet are better left unsaid.
7. uncorrupted optimism is mostly found in young people.
8. cynicism increases as you grow old.
9.Read more ›
Rather than talking about the plot per se, "Manhattan" is best explained as a convoluted series of wrecked and ruined relationships centering around Allen's character, Isaac Davis. Isaac is divorced from Jill (Meryl Streep), who is now living with Connie (Karen Ludwig), and planning to write an expose on her marriage. Isaac is having an affair with 17-year-old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), but then he meets Mary (Diane Keaton), the mistress of his best friend Yale (Michael Murphy), who is married to Emily (Anne Byrne). Ultimately, however, this is not a film about love, but rather a film about loss, because you just know that forced to make choices, Isaac is going to make the wrong ones. Tracy and Mary are characters constructed as such polar opposites and it never dawns on Isaac to focus more on what each has than on what they lack.
Of course, today this film is obviously open to reinterpretation given Allen's very public personal life and it is now assumed that the Isaac-Tracy relationship was a sign of things to come rather than a dramatic construction.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is Woody Allen's love letter to the City of Manhattan; and it is gorgeous. Wonderful writing, great characters, superb acting and the icing? Read morePublished 19 days ago by Louc0517
One of American cinema's great masterworks. A nearly perfect work of art. And Gershwin to boot. Mr. Allen is an American treasure.Published 1 month ago by Michael F.
The only reason people thought Annie Hall was so great is that Manhattan hadn't been made yet. A much superior film, although the romance with Mariel Hemingway is rather creepy in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by azdaddie
The only good movie he ever made was Annie Hall. In this, his next movie, the deterioration is obvious. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A bit old and tired now. Not what I expected. Maybe it just hasn't survived the test of time.Published 3 months ago by S. Stracquodaine
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