Wednesday, September 1, 2010

#26. Manhattan (1979)

DVD Synopsis: 42-year-old Manhattan native Isaac Davis (Woody Allen) has a job he hates, a 17-year-old girlfriend, Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), he doesn’t love, and a lesbian ex-wife, Jill (Meryl Streep), who’s writing a tell-all book about their marriage...and whom he’d like to strangle. But when he meets his best friend’s sexy, intellectual mistress, Mary (Diane Keaton), Isaac falls head over heels in lust! Leaving Tracy, bedding Mary, and quitting his job are just the beginning of Isaac’s quest for romance and fulfillment in a city where sex is as intimate as a handshake – and the gateway to true a revolving door.

Woody Allen’s Manhattan is funny, touching, warm, romantic, and oh so beautiful. Set to the dreamy music of George Gershwin, the film is itself a dream-like vision of the city in which it is set. 

In the opening scene, Allen’s character is dictating passages for his new book into a tape recorder, using words that paint an idyllic portrait of New York. As he’s doing so, we’re treated to a picturesque montage of life in Manhattan, from its impressive skyline right down to the urban decay that plagues its streets. 

This opening sets a precedent of sorts, because many of Manhattan’s most memorable sequences will feature the city almost exclusively (the most striking example is undoubtedly the now-iconic scene in which Allen and Keaton watch the sun come up behind the 59th Street Bridge). 

While Manhattan is, at its heart, a funny, sobering look at the nature of relationships, it is also a love letter to New York, a city that's more than a setting in this movie; it’s the main character.

1 comment:

JRATM23 said...

My favorite Allen movie & one of my all time favorites. Filled with wit, great characters, & stunning black & white visuals, not to mention a dynamite soundtrack, it's as perfect as a movie gets.