Vintage Woody Allen
Andrew - wrote on 05/17/12
Manhattan is certainly a solid Woody Allen that features great dialogue. It contains some great shots of the Manhattan skyline and some very quirky characters.
The story is about Issac Davis (Allen) a 42-year old twice divorced writer who is dating 17-year old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway). While dating Tracy he falls for Mary Wilkie (Diane Keaton) the mistress of his friend Yale (Michael Murphy). In addition, he must deal with his ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep) who left him and became a lesbian and is now writing a book about their failed marriage that portrays him in a negative light.
Allen is of course his usual neurotic self. The audience can clearly see why Issac's ex-wives left him as he is incredibly narcissistic, willing to abandon someone at the drop of a hat if suits his needs. Mariel Hemingway is outstanding as the young (but wise) Tracy who genuinely cares for Issac despite his shortcomings. Diane Keaton is a delight as the snobbish and intellectual Mary, a departure from her role in Annie Hall.
As mentioned, this film has great dialogue like many other Woody Allen films. It is a fairly slow film, containing little action, but is dialogue saves it. The shots of Manhattan, particularly the iconic shot of the Queensboro Bridge are breathtaking. However, I have to seriously question Allen's decision to film in black and white. I know Allen was very nostalgic about the past when making the film, but filming in color could have given the viewer a much better depiction of this hustle and bustle that is New York City. Despite this, the film is solid but unspectacular. Certainly worth watching, but not a classic.