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      R Released Mar 14, 1979 1h 36m Comedy Drama List
      94% Tomatometer 70 Reviews 92% Audience Score 50,000+ Ratings Director Woody Allen's love letter to New York City stars Allen as frustrated television writer Isaac Davis, a twice-divorced malcontent facing middle age alone after his wife, Jill (Meryl Streep), leaves him for a woman. Isaac is dating fresh-faced Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), a high school girl he knows is wrong for him, and begins to wonder if he and brainy writer Mary (Diane Keaton), the mistress of his best friend, Yale (Michael Murphy), might make a better couple. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Consensus

      One of Woody Allen's early classics, Manhattan combines modern, bittersweet humor and timeless romanticism with unerring grace.

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      Critics Reviews

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      John Pym Sight & Sound Allen has always had difficulty harmonising his comic talents and the skittering form of his films: Manhattan is a temporary resolution gratefully received. Jul 31, 2018 Full Review Stanley Kauffmann The New Republic What George M. Cohan did with the Stars and Stripes in 1919, Allen is doing with neurosis in 1979: waving it, telling us that as long as we're proud of it, we're all pretty damned OK. That's the real romance of Manhattan. Jan 9, 2018 Full Review Tara Brady Irish Times A pretty and problematic picture that leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Rated: 3/5 Jun 14, 2017 Full Review Photoplay Staff Photoplay Except for its striking black-and-white photography, Manhattan would seem a sequel to Annie Hall. Cast and content rate superlatives. A landmark film, destined to become a classic. Nov 16, 2023 Full Review Dilys Powell Punch The film, shot in deeply satisfying black and white, has the nervous tension and the romantic excitement of a beloved city. Oct 2, 2023 Full Review Brandon Judell Huffington Post By the way, Isaac's wife, played by Meryl Streep, has left him to become a lesbian. This wasn't that popular a move back in 1979. In fact, Meryl did it before New York magazine even had a "Lesbian Chic" cover. Jun 15, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Tim M Another quick-witted Woody Allen screenplay on the uncertainty and insecurities of romantic relationships, Manhattan is more thematically timeless than not. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 04/18/24 Full Review Nawt W Exceptional blocking and amazing work with shadows and silhouettes. The direction and cinematography probably absolve the movie of the myriad things I have issues with. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/08/24 Full Review Discover G It was the longest 90 minutes I've ever spent Rated 1 out of 5 stars 11/07/23 Full Review Adrian B True classic, stand up comedy guy from Gaslight club of 1962 had grown up to the silver screen proportion in black and white. A flair of big apple romance, with Allen's direction and hillarious comic details in dialogues, gets acted very well by entire cast. One of the master's best for sure. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 10/17/23 Full Review geordie b This is a mini-masterpiece and one of the high points from a decade filled with high points. Woody Allen has never been better & Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep & Mariel Hemingway are all better than him. Stunning black-and-white cinematography and amazing Gershwin music make for a truly cinematic experience. It is one of the most beautiful & gloriously romantic movies ever made. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/18/23 Full Review Matthew B There are numerous infidelities in the work of Woody Allen, but there is one love with whom he has a lasting and faithful relationship throughout his career. That love is of course New York, the backdrop and subject matter of a number of his films. Two of his films have ‘Manhattan' in the title, and he contributed to a third movie with ‘New York' in it name. This is never better expressed than in his 1979 comedy, Manhattan. The city is lovingly shown in beautiful black-and-white photography and captured in widescreen. This is the romantic world of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, of skyscrapers, fireworks, city lights, bustling traffic, rickshaws and lovers kissing. The city is virtually a character in the movie. The film opens with Allen providing a voiceover as we see images of New York on the screen. He is speaking through the voice of his character, Isaac Davis. Davis is a TV writer, and he is planning a book with Manhattan as the backdrop. The narration gives us an ironic and humorous glimpse at the process of writing. Isaac keeps correcting himself and starting again, until he finds an opening that he likes. The viewer is reminded that there are many narratives and many perspectives for viewing the same story. For all their apparent intellect, and their constant analysis of their own problems and those of others, everybody ends the film by trying to return to the unhappy place that they were in at the beginning. Allen has suggested that the movie is about people trying to live a decent existence in a junk-obsessed contemporary culture, a point that we see when Isaac quits working for a trashy, low-grade comedy show. It might more accurately be said that the film is about people trying to live a decent existence, but being held back by their own insecurities and lack of self-awareness. The characters are intellectuals who freely vaunt their opinions on art and philosophy, but these are mostly empty phrases with no real insight. They often say that they are thinking of others when they perform actions for their own benefit. They obsess to the point of hypochondria about their physical well-being, while neglecting to manage their emotions healthily. They are permanently in therapy with no visible results (it is a running joke that Mary's therapist is less well-balanced than she is). In love, they are drawn to the wrong partners so that they can fail, confirming their low self-esteem. The result is a society of well-to-do intelligentsia who are lonely and insecure, not really connected to one another, restless, and unable to appreciate what they have. Allen almost makes a virtue out of ignorance. "Nothing worth knowing can be understood with the mind," Isaac tells Mary, adding, "The brain is the most over-rated organ". Attached to these discussions is a constant attempt to consider the place of human affairs in relation to the universe. Perhaps that is why Allen felt that the film was too preachy. An early date between Isaac and Mary takes place in a planetarium where the two lovers are reduced to dark shadows lost in the vastness of the cosmos. Isaac argues with Yale in a classroom while stood next to the skeleton of a prehistoric ape-like man, a reminder that we have not wholly moved past our primal origins. Allen leaves it open about whether people choose to attach their hang-ups to bigger issues about the universe or whether they create neurotic problems to avoid dealing with the unsolvable problems in the universe. Whatever the causes of their insecurities, the characters are left alone in a vast and unsympathetic universe It is only the smaller pleasures of life that make it worth living. Towards the end of the movie, Isaac gives his own list of those things which makes life good. He includes Groucho Marx, Willie Mays, the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony and Tracy's face on the list. It is this which prompts his attempt at a reconciliation with Tracy. The future of the characters is uncertain at the end of the movie. Isaac tells Mary that he gives her and Yale's relationship four weeks before it breaks up. Perhaps Tracy too will change during her London visit, and outgrow Isaac as he predicted all along. Then again, everything atrophies and turns to unhappiness. Manhattan is in decline. Gershwin's music has a melancholy wistfulness about it. Happiness is never unmixed with sadness, and love is hard to maintain in a large city. Even the pleasure of watching Manhattan has faded in many people's eyes. I wrote a longer appreciation of Manhattan on my blog page if you would like to read more: Rated 5 out of 5 stars 08/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Director Woody Allen's love letter to New York City stars Allen as frustrated television writer Isaac Davis, a twice-divorced malcontent facing middle age alone after his wife, Jill (Meryl Streep), leaves him for a woman. Isaac is dating fresh-faced Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), a high school girl he knows is wrong for him, and begins to wonder if he and brainy writer Mary (Diane Keaton), the mistress of his best friend, Yale (Michael Murphy), might make a better couple.
      Woody Allen
      Charles H. Joffe
      Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
      United Artists
      Production Co
      Jack Rollins and Charles Joffe
      Comedy, Drama
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Mar 14, 1979, Original
      Rerelease Date (Theaters)
      Mar 10, 2017
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Sep 13, 2015
      1h 36m
      Sound Mix
      Aspect Ratio
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