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Manhattan

1979 Comedy Drama

On the heels of Annie Hall, the Oscar-winning romantic comedy that rocketed Woody Allen to the front ranks of American filmmakers, Manhattan continued Allen's romantic obsessions in a slightly darker, more pessimistic vein. Allen stars as Isaac Davis, a TV comedy writer sick of the pap he is forced to churn out and harboring dreams of being the great American novelist. His love life is in barbed-wire territory: he is tormented by his second ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep), a lesbian who has written a tell-all book about their marriage, and he is dating teenager Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), to whom he refuses to commit, and keeps hinting that a breakup may be imminent. Isaac's disillusioned (and married) best friend Yale (Michael Murphy) has begun an affair with the cerebral writer Mary Wilke (Diane Keaton). While Isaac makes a last minute, sink-or-swim decision to quit his job and devote all of his time to book writing, and neurotically moans about what the lack of a full time job will do to him ("My parents won't have as good of a seat in the synagogue," he moans. "They'll be far away from God... away from the action") Yale is crippled by his lack of resolve, as indicated by his inability to leave his wife Emily (Anne Byrne). Meanwhile, Isaac and Mary begin to fall for one another. Tracy then tells Isaac the basic truth that none of his hung-up friends and past lovers fully realizes: "You have to have a little more faith in people." Manhattan is both a seriocomic dissection of perpetually dissatisfied New Yorkers and an ode to the city itself, filmed in glorious black-and-white by ace cinematographer Gordon Willis, and set to a score of rhapsodic George Gershwin music. more..

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Woody Allen,Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep

Reviews

  • One of Woody's most aesthetically gorgeous films as well as his classic love-hate letter to the city of his soul.

    David Parkinson - Empire

    26 April 2013

  • Deft comedy set in a neurotic town. People may argue about the relative merits of Annie Hall vis-a-vis Manhattan, which is a better and more fully realized film. By this time Allen had forsworn the glib one-liner and spent more time developing well-rounded characters.

    - TV Guide

    26 April 2013

  • What happens is not the substance of Manhattan as much as how it happens. The movie is full of moments that are uproariously funny and others that are sometimes shattering for the degree in which they evoke civilized desolation.

    - Time

    26 April 2013

  • this is a very good movie. Woody Allen is ... Woody, sublimely. Diane Keaton gives us a fresh and nicely edged New York intellectual. And Mariel Hemingway deserves some kind of special award for what's in some ways the most difficult role in the film.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    26 April 2013

  • With his co-writer, Randy Sue Coburn, and composer Mark Isham, director Alan Rudolph has created a sense of time and place that authentically conveys what it might have been like when writers were celebrities and special effects came from words.

    Julie Salamon - The Wall Street Journal

    26 April 2013

Awards

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role

    Academy Awards (1980)

     
  • Best Foreign Language Film

    Awards of the Japanese Academy (1981)

     
  • Best Film

    BAFTA Awards (1980)

  • Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film)

    Bodil Awards (1980)

  • Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger)

    César Awards, France (1980)