Saturday, November 6, 2010

#186 Manhattan (1979)


Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Michael Murphy, Mariel Hemingway, Anne Byrne Hoffman, Karen Ludwig, Michael O'Donoghue, Tisa Farrow

Two years after Annie Hall, Allen and Keaton are together again on-screen in Manhattan. With the same witty, neurotic voice-overs, Allen presents a new complicated love-polygon featuring a new cast of intellectual New Yorkers. This time, Allen is Isaac-- and Isaac is dating Tracy (Hemingway), a 17-year-old girl who is helping him forget about his now-lesbian ex-wife (Streep) (who just so happens to be writing a rather embarrassing tell-all about their former marriage). Isaac's best friend, Yale (Murphy) is cheating on his wife with Mary (Keaton)-- a self-conscious but chatty Philadelphian. Isaac and Mary eventually come together out of mutual feelings of rejection to experience their own complicated version of a relationship.

I've come to decide that Woody Allen flicks are a flavor of icecream. You either like it, you hate it, or you're altogether lactose-intolerant. Personally, I find this particular flavor to be delicious, and a safe go-to pleasurable move-going experience. While Annie Hall has particular sentimental value to me as it was my first memorable Woody Allen film-- Manhattan had the same undeniably classic feel. And let's face it-- Allen and Keaton were made to be together on film!

When I think of these Allen films (as a whole), I tend to think of them as one comedic, pleasant popcorn experience. They allow me to both laugh and commiserate, and I appreciate that in a simplistic (but not dismissable) way. I don't always need grandiose gestures from a film to find it irreplaceable and/or memorable. For me, Manhattan is neatly tucked into the greater, undulating love-folder that is Woody Allen.

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