"Nothing's as big as your first love."
The bittersweet pangs of first love among sixth graders sets the stage for this romantic comedy. Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) is an 11-year-old boy living on the more exclusive side of New York City; his parents, Adam (Bradley Whitford) and Leslie (Cynthia Nixon), are splitting up, and as their marriage slowly crumbles, they've both become increasingly protective of their son. While most of Gabe's friends are still firmly in the "girls are yucky" stage, Gabe has found his head turned by Rosemary (Charlie Ray), a cute girl in his karate class. Negotiating the tricky waters of impressing the opposite sex for the first time, Gabe works up the nerve to ask Rosemary out on a date, and in time the two begin spending their spare time together. But just when Gabe feels ready to tackle the next step and tell Rosemary that he's in love with her, he learns that she'll be spending the summer away at camp, meaning he'll have to spend his vacation pining for her. Meanwhile, as Gabe turns to Adam for advice, Adam begins taking another look at where his relationship with Leslie went sour. Little Manhattan was the first directorial effort for writer and producer Mark Levin.
I have seen this movie twice, probably the third romantic movie that compelled me to do that, and the reasons are quite simple: It's probably impossible that anyone can't relate to young Josh Hutcherson's character, an 11 year old with a normal middle class life and problems (parents initiating divorce); that its surprise by the rediscovery of a young classmate (Charley Ray) initially as an unexpected friend and later as something else...
The well crafted work of director Mark Levin is based on the mutual discovery of all these feelings (mostly new and uncontrolled) that evolved in Josh's character and in another particular viewer: you.
Very few movies accomplished the sensation of being part of the life, joy and suffering of a film character, and believe me, that feeling won't disappoint you.
Good acting, great development of characters; but you can summarize this way: you will be surprised with the strange sensation that someone has taken a peek into your memories and heart and put it on screen.