I actually like that the characters, especially Woody's are rather slimy, creepy jerks. It adds to the fun and nuttiness of it all. That, and it takes real talent to successfully pull off a dramedy where a twice divorced 42 year-old is dating a 17 year-old girl whom he doesn't love, despite the strong feelings she has for him. Plus, there's lots of typical pretentious conversations about art, music, and philosophy that just really sing. Also, this was the first time Allen made not only a black and white film, but one that was also visually stunning, something that doesn't apply to the vast majority of his works.
This is a true love letter to Manhattan, and the gorgeous cinematography, excellent Gershwin score, and Allen's crisp writing make it truly the masterpiece that everyone hails it to be, and I think this film really truly does stand the test of time since I was forced to give it multiple watches and lots of thought before deciding how I really felt about it. Now THAT's a sign of genius.
This all predates his whole Soon-Yi scandal, so I don't know why it was such a shock of a storyline.
I respect him as a director, but as a person he creeps me out.
Very good film! Woody Allen's homage to the city he loves, and it's no surprise if the way he shows it to us is the way he sees it, it truly is amazing. This is such a complex movie, full of surprises and subtlety. It is also a love story of a city. Certainly the central drama would not be as powerful as it is without the beautiful, somewhat sad and evocative black & white photography by Gordon Willis which romanticizes Manhattan giving it a poetic quality. We can almost smell and touch the city and that is part of the reason the characters become so real. All in all, this is a great little gem and one that you should see if you like Woody Allen, romantic comedies, or, really, movies.
In Manhattan, Isac Davis is a divorced writer of TV shows unhappy with his job. His ex-wife left him to live with another woman and is writing a book about her relationship with Isac. He presently dates a seventeen years old high-school student, Tracy, who is in love with him, but he does not like her. When he meets Mary Wilkie, the mistress of his married best friend Yale, he has a crush on her. He finishes with Tracy and has an affair with Mary, affecting the lives of many persons including his own.
First of all, I loved the decision to shoot this in black & white. It makes the city look completely beautiful, and it gives the whole thing a timeless feel. It suits the movie perfectly.
Manhattan is basically about people that don't want what they have. Until they don't have it, of course. Then they want it desperately. Woody Allen's character Isaac is the worst offender. He tosses away jobs and girlfriends on a whim or an inkling of something more appealing on the horizon. Most of other main characters aren't much better. The story is encompassed within that circle of friends and relationships.
I didn't find Manhattan to be as relatable and appealing as some of Allen's other movies that I've seen. The humorous dialogue didn't seem to be as sharp as I've come to expect, and there was really only one remotely likeable character out of the lot. The ending is strong, thankfully, and that lessened the mild sense of disappointment that I felt about the film.
Okay, but I don't consider it to be one of Woody's best.