Manhattan (1979)

2007 #119
Woody Allen | 92 mins | DVD | 15 / R

ManhattanDrama (though it does include some very funny bits) focusing on the interrelationships of a handful of 40-something New Yorkers.

Allen fails to convince as a bit of a womaniser, even if he is notably less neurotic than usual; however, once the viewer gets over that little fantasy of his, I believe there’s a lot to be had here. It’s a much more traditional film than Annie Hall — events occur in chronological order, with no unusual comedic breaks, or monologues to camera — and, as a drama, it’s all the better for this.

The black & white photography is gorgeous throughout, helping the city to shine far brighter than any of the characters — for me, the best bit of the entire film is the opening three-and-a-half minutes, in which the beautiful images, Allen’s narration and Gershwin’s music combine in a tribute to what must be the most genuinely loved of all cities.

(A 5-star rating system only allows minimal delineation, so for the sake of clarity I’d like to point out that I personally preferred this to Annie Hall, though it falls just off attaining a full five.)

4 out of 5

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