Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979)

manhattanNow, I have watched this before and, on the first watch I thought a great film. Now, a second time around I realised that there are not so many jokes as there are in ‘Annie Hall’ – but this is not so much a bad thing. It has to be taken that little bit more seriously.

Everyone is completely flawed – Yale – the cheating husband, Isaac – the paedoish guy, Mary – the indecisive broad. Even Tracy is a little naive. Throwing away London for this silly man who, even she should know, is too old for her.

The Gershwin score is awesome – the big band, semi-marching band mixed with the lovely jazz (probably not Gershwin that one…). The great shots – like this mix of conversations with beautiful NYC images. Obviously, the whole section in the planetarium place simply looks stunning. Silhouettes and small highlights – dare I mention Carvaggio or Helmut Newton …

The ambiguous ending … clearly Mary is gone, but does Mary and Yale work out? Did Yale split with the wife? Does Tracy stay … clearly she shouldn’t and I feel that little glance from Woody at the end is trying to say how he is, ultimately, thinking of himself. Take away all the glamour and beauty of NYC, ultimately, he is on his own and alien to the emotions of others – to the point that he is willing to, effectively, destroy someone else’s life purely to make his own loneliness not in vain. Whereas poor Mary – as cerebral as she was – maybe she was simply looking for love and followed her heart more so than her NYC head … then again, she was from Philadelphia. With this in mind, this interesting take on a love story … you cannot help but give ol‘ Woody Allen his credit. I mean, screw the old mans life now. Maybe he did get it on with his adopted child or something … but back in ’79, he made a damn good film and it was relevant and interesting so … there you go!

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3 comments

  1. Woo hoo, finally something to get my teeth into.

    Firstly Woody Allen. Why does anyone love him? Let's break that down.

    In terms of Manhattan I can't understand what Tracey sees in him and why she gets so upset when he dumps her. I don't think the start of their relationship is ever explained and I'm pretty sure Woody himself expresses some surprise as to why she would be with him. It's self deprecating which should be funny but then that's kinda weird because he cast her opposite him. I'm just saying the level of love is ununderstandable.

    I don't understand why people (actors & viewers alike) are still so reverential about his canon and working with him. He makes a shitload of films and a load of shit films (b'dom cuch). I've seen Match Point (really bad), Melinda & Melinda (boring), Manhattan (unfunny) and Annie Hall (good, but no Airplane!). Obviously I like Vicky Cristina Barcelona but that ain't because of the Woody, or maybe it is. No, it is a good film with an exciting plot in a beautiful city and interesting characters.

    Maybe I should see more.

    Anyway, in this particular film the black and white shot of the bridge is great, the score is great, Diane Keaton is great. The scene in the cafe with the hand is nasty and with hindsight, poorly judged.

  2. Woody Allen makes films cheaply and attracts big stars – thats why studios like him, but everyone else. Well, his whole style is quite unique in american cinema – especially mainstream american cinema. 'Annie Hall' is in no way trying to be non-stop joke-a-thon Airplane! but is trying to show, in a humourous way, the relaxed 'real' attitude of a man – a male Bridget Jones if you will. In my opinion, thats what makes Woody Allen films great – he has this, sometimes brutally honest, ideas about men, art, [I assume] being middle-aged and relationships that is accessible – yet intelligent – and, in some cases, relatable. Of course, there is always that 'Woody-Allen' problem of his personal life, but ignoring that, he makes great films. But, lets be honest, if you don't like 'Match Point' and compare 'Annie Hall' with 'Airplane' then, yeah, you're going to have difficulty liking the mans canon.

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