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Woody Allen portrays a very successful television writer who is tired of churning out pap comedy, and sets out to write a serious novel. He can make people laugh, but can he make them feel? Allen seems also set on collecting for himself every neurosis known to humankind. He sometimes lives with teenager Mariel Hemingway, but their age difference is producing guilt. Introduced to Diane Keaton, Allen finds her annoying, aggressive...and fascinating. He leaves Hemingway, however, Keaton returns to her former lover, Allen's best friends, and they become "just friends." Allen's ex-wife (Meryl Streep) has written a successful book, "Marriage, Divorce and Selfhood" --it turns Allen into a worldwide weirdo and explains her newfound lesbianism. When the abandoned Hemingway is about to leave the country to finish her education, Allen realizes the depth of his love for her.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 55
- Fresh: 54
- Rotten: 1
- Average Rating: 8.5/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Mr. Allen's progress as one of our major filmmakers is proceeding so rapidly that we who watch him have to pause occasionally to catch our breath.
Fresh: The film should not come as a complete surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Allen's doings lately. This is the movie that Annie Hall hinted at and to which last year's Interiors, flawed as it was, seems to have served as a necessary prelude.
Fresh: Allen has, in black and white, captured the inner beauty that lurks behind the outer layer of dirt and grime in Manhattan.
Fresh: Manhattan is not just Woody Allen's dream movie. Wistful as it is witty, it's his dream of the movies.
One of the Greatest Works of Art of the 20th Century
For some reason, Allen did not want the film released, which would have deprived the world of one of the major works of the 20th century. Thankfully, the studio released it anyway. After Allen had won for Annie Hall, he was deprived of Oscars for Manhattan, although the film clearly should have won the Academy Award that year for, well, everything. The city is a major character in the film, unlike any film except maybe Chinatown. Mariel Hemingway is simply as stunning as the black & white cinematography by Gordon Willis, the Gershwin music, and the editing. The moral sweetness, contrasted by the grind of modern life, is breathtaking. Allen's confrontation with Michael Murphy (and the skeleton) could only be topped by his final scene with Hemingway. Then there is the scene by the Queensboro Bridge at dawn! Well, you need to see this one on a very, very big screen... Then you will be carried away to 1979's Manhattan.
This movie is arguably Woody Allen's finest on three fronts...movie substance and content, acting and score. Preserved in the National Film Registry as a "culturally significant" movie.
one of the best films ever made
Woody Allen has made so many brilliant films (and a few not so brilliant), but this is definitely one of his very best. It's a romantic comedy, but a little more grown-up than his (also brilliant) Annie Hall. I highly recommend it to everyone!
- Genre: Comedy
- Released: 1979
- © 1979 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All rights reserved.