Forty-two year old Isaac Davis has a romanticized view of his hometown, New York City, most specifically Manhattan, as channeled through the lead character in the first book he is writing, despite his own Manhattan-based life being more of a tragicomedy. He has just quit his job as a hack writer for a bad television comedy, he, beyond the ten second rush of endorphins during the actual act of quitting, now regretting the decision, especially as he isn't sure he can live off his book writing career. He is paying two alimonies, his second ex-wife, Jill Davis, a lesbian, who is writing her own tell-all book of their acrimonious split. The one somewhat positive aspect of his life is that he is dating a young woman named Tracy, although she is only seventeen and still in high school. Largely because of their differences a big part of which is due to their ages, he does not see a long term future with her. His life has the potential to be even more tragicomical when he meets journalist Mary... Written by
The name of the book that Jill (Meryl Streep) wrote was "Marriage, Divorce and Selfhood". See more »
In the first scene at Elaine's, as Isaac is beginning to say something, two people (presumably customers of the restaurant, as it was running while they were shooting) walks in front of the camera. Isaac laughs, and quickly recovers with an impromptu remark about how his girlfriend has to go and do homework. See more »
[music: the opening of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Voiceover]
Chapter One. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. Eh uh, no, make that he, he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin. Uh, no, let me start this over.
Chapter One: He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on...
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There are no opening credits, save the production company bumper and the film's title, which appears as part of a flashing neon sign in New York City. See more »
"You probably think I'm too cerebral," Diane Keaton tells Woody Allen midway through this acclaimed film. Had that remark been made to me, I would have said, "No. Just pretentious." It's a verdict I would reach concerning all of Allen's overrated 1979 film, the first in which he starred since the Oscar winning "Annie Hall." Here, he continues the wearying pseudo-intellectual tone of that earlier film, but while "Annie Hall" compensated for its pretentions with an abundance of humor, much of it aimed at pseudo-intellectuals (Allen apparently does not recognize himself as a member of this group), the laughs in "Manhattan" (and there are plenty of them) are unintentional. As usual, Allen's characters speak in the vernacular of dime store psychologists and art critics, repeatedly referring to "hostility," as well as Freud and Bergman--Ingmar, of course, not Ingrid, although I doubt that any of these smug characters could say an intelligent word about "The Bells of St. Mary's," let alone "The Seventh Seal." "I'm beautiful, I'm bright, and I deserve better," Keaton says at one point, but her self-assessment would be more accurately applied to Meryl Streep who, as the wife who dumps Allen for another woman, IS beautiful, bright, and certainly deserving of something better than this mess concocted by a man whose character is described as someone who "longed to be an artist but balked at the necessary sacrifices." In "Manhattan," Allen balks like never before, dishing up superficially "deep" subject matter, but lacking the insight and, I suspect, the experience, to adequately probe it. Allen, the aloof and reclusive New Yorker, has made an arty, though not artistic, vanity production that demonstrates a poor grasp on any life outside his own snobby circle. And, like a circle, "Manhattan" doesn't end, it merely stops, dead in its tracks. It is, however, his second funniest film. (The funniest, by a long shot, is "Interiors.")
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