Find the list here: The Top 250 Films List Total Films Watched: 250/250

Thursday, 7 February 2013

#243 - 'Manhattan' (1979)

"Chapter One. He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat. Oh, I love this. New York was his town, and it always would be." - Issac Davies
Woody Allen's 'Manhattan' follows the romantic endeavours of divorced New Yorker Issac (Allen) with both a high-school girl and the woman who had an affair with his married best friend Yale (Michael Murphy). Issac's ex-wife, Jill (Meryl Streep), who left him for another woman, is writing a revealing book about their failed marriage. In the meantime, Issac is in a relationship with seventeen year old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway). He begins to question his relationship with Tracy, repeatedly saying that she is too young for him. He becomes closer to Mary (Diane Keaton), Yale's mistress, eventually falling for her. Confronting his feelings, Issac has to decide between his two love interests.
Issac and Tracy.
This film is very much a love letter to New York. The opening sequence was brilliant - a montage of shots of downtown Manhattan with Isaac's voiceover dictating several attempts at 'Chapter One' of his book. It instantly made me want to go back to the Big Apple. The iconic shot, as featured in the film poster above, was lovely too. In fact, the cinematography of the whole film was excellent. The scenes in the museum using the lighting from the exhibits to illuminate Isaac and Mary added to the drama of their discussion.
Mary and Isaac sit beneath the
Queensboro bridge
There is some great dialogue and there were a lot of laughs throughout, mainly provided by Allen. One example of this was the continued references to Issac's attempt to run over his ex-wife and her new lover and Isaac's differing explanation of events. There were lots of humourous comments, far too many to go through individually, but they helped the film flow. The classic love triangle situation was exacerbated due to the age difference between Issac and Tracey and the awkwardness of Mary's fling with Yale. Their feelings for each other seemed to change at the drop of a hat. There was one good scene at the theatre where Isaac, Mary, Yale and his wife are sitting next to each other which was both funny and very awkward.
Everyone is avoiding each other's gaze, with good reason.
The film ended rather abruptly. The resolution was a little strange and didn't really fit in with the rest of the film. Overall though it was a nicely shot, humourous romantic tale with some great performances by Allen and Keaton. Manhattan looked magnificent too. Oh, did I mention I wanted to go back to New York? Yeah, that. 

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I have seen the Queensboro bridge shot parodied in Family Guy, Simpsons and Futurama - can't find any screenshots though.

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