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5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless christmas gift for New York!
Woody Allen made a pictoric statement ; an artistic gift of countless carats ; an etarnal portrait for the next generations who will watch this picture with the same devotion we have in front a masterpiece in the Metropolitan , Louvre or any other prestigious museum in the world.
The story turns as a leit motive in many films of this clever film maker , about the...
Published on July 3 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars The Stars Are For the Cinamatography
You could watch just the first 5 minutes for the opening monologue and brilliant establishing shots of the city. It's gorgeous. That said, Allen's character's relationship with Hemingway's character is completely creepy. And the normally wonderful Keaton is forced to play an unlikable, neurotic, pretentious woman. There isn't the core of sweetness that I liked in Annie...
Published on Nov. 6 2001


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5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless christmas gift for New York!, July 3 2004
By 
Hiram Gomez Pardo (Valencia, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
Woody Allen made a pictoric statement ; an artistic gift of countless carats ; an etarnal portrait for the next generations who will watch this picture with the same devotion we have in front a masterpiece in the Metropolitan , Louvre or any other prestigious museum in the world.
The story turns as a leit motive in many films of this clever film maker , about the disturbing relationship between two lovers , the loneliness , the no sense living who seems work out for many people in a city as NY that owns the sublime virtue of being capable of renovating to itself from time to time . This is the clue why we love so much this unique city .
The opening shots shows Allen who is left by his wife (Meryl Streep) for another woman ; this bitter sight is linked with the fact Woody falls in love with a teenager that it might be well his own daughter (Mariel Hemingway) ; notice this relationship is built for the Pygmalion effect. She admires him and eventually falls in love with him when she compares his rich gaze about the world with the routiny of her friends ; flat and deepless.
In the middle of this emotional chaos the rendezvous to NYC emerges from time to time with unforgettable images . Gordon Willis stole the show with this arresting landscapes. He caught the mythical essence of this caleidoscopic city: irreverent , creative , seductive , challenging but fascinating . However Allen knew show the viewer the underestimated wonderful treasures that by one or several reasons some proportion of the people who lives there it doesn't seem to realize . Once more the sight of an artist is to make open the eyes and alterate the usual perspectives of the reality , creating a new one.
And Allen made it . Bravo!
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4.0 out of 5 stars ...Old-Fashioned and New-Fangled, May 2 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
Schmuck!
This is the movie you wanted to buy back from the studio?
It doesn't really matter, and maybe that's why it makes such a noticible difference: "Annie Hall" was the first of an apparantly unconcious trilogy where Woody Allen, acting as a writer/director/actor ("Star Wa- oops!- DUST Memories" is the third: "Interiors" came out around the same time but is a very different non-animal and doesn't count) acceded -- in very different stages of reluctance -- his own attractiveness, brilliance and success in all realms of life.
But in "Manhattan," Allen dumps his editor?collaborator? Ralph Rosenblum and takes control in collaboration with maverick non-union non-recognized cinematographer Gordon Willis to make a very different film. Allen allows that the concept was to make a film in real wide-screen (aka "anamorphic") set in New York.
Schmuck.
Unlike "Annie," this film is non-improvisational and supremely more stylish; and being filmed in widescreen black & white is by no means the greatest of the differences.
Meaner than "Annie's" breaking-the-fourth-wall snottiness, "Manhattan" honed a contempt for the delusional and self-hating inhabitants of its namesake into a screed in which even the judgemental character Allen plays (who lectures everyone -- especially himself) is scalded for having no business enjoying the magnificent vistas they cluelessly scamper through with as much appreciation as a yeti in the Serengheti.
Sorry. Great film, gorgeous cinematography (the first 10 min. are worth the price of the DVD alone), acting you won't even notice, it's so good, probably the best of any 10 films of the last 25 years, regardless of your opinion of Allen's life or personal crap.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant character study!, April 10 2004
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
There's a scene in this film where Woody Allen is lying on his couch, lethargic and immensely depressed. He's talking into a tape recorder, and he says something along the lines of, "I'm thinking about writing a short story about people in Manhattan who are constantly creating these real, unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves, because it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about the universe." What an interesting issue he's preparing to approach in his latest work of art. And purposefully (for obvious reasons), that quote sums up the entire film.
Manhattan surrounds the lives of Isaac (Woody Allen), his ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep), his best friend Yale (Michael Murphy), his seventeen-year-old girlfriend Tracy (the Oscar-nominated Marial Hemmingway), Yale's wife (Anne Byrne Hoffman), and, of course, Yale's mistress Mary (the wonderful Diane Keaton). One day, Isaac and Tracy are on a date and they come across Yale spending the day with Mary. And that's what starts it all. At first Isaac despises Mary's overbearing, free personality. But eventually he runs into her again and he gives her a chance, walking home with her after a gala. And the two become great friends, leading to something more, causing an entire love triangle to form, affecting every character in the film in different ways. But of course, that's not all there is to it.
The love triangle between Mary, Isaac and Yale is a vehicle for studying the behavioral habits of Isaac, the film's main focus. He is an intensely neurotic man who, like he says at one point in the film, fixates on smaller problems in order to rid his mind of the larger ones he is afraid to face. But as the love triangle progresses, falls apart, nearly comes back together, then falls apart again, he transforms into another man at the end. And the way Woody Allen carefully (and in a very clever way) tells the tale and explains the change is so utterly original and touching that it will leave you breathless.
That is, of course, the high point of the film: its screenplay. There are so many brilliantly subtle jokes and so many of Isaac's mannerisms made fun of and focuses upon that the smile will never leave your face. It is also full of artistic maturity and integrity which Allen, in his early days (apparently), never ceased to express. Not once does he stray from the purpose of the film. Nor does he create unnecessary or cliche plot points or become dishonest in any way. He remains true to himself and the the world. And what strengthens the writing are the wonderful performances from every person in the cast.
Of course, Marial Hemmingway was nominated for the Oscar. And although she was great, the truly wonderful performance in this film was Diane Keaton's as the confused, newly-divorced Mary. She is so precise with her emotions, but reveals so many shades and builds upon the already realistic depth of Allen's screenplay. She should have been nominated for the Oscar. Also noticeably great was, of course, Woody Allen himself, who is always wonderful. Another character clearly and beautifully conveyed in the film is the city of New York.
The widescreen, black-and-white cinematography by Gordon Willis is stunning, and matches the overall tone of the film perfectly. Also complementing the photography and personality of the film is the music scattered throughout, all written by George Gershwin (the film even opens up with the commanding sound of "Rhapsody in Blue").
So as you turn off your television and relax after having finished Manhattan, you are sure to be filled with amazement at how honest, witty and glorious the film is, with the clear knowledge that Woody Allen is a pure genius.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of Woody's best, Dec 22 2003
By 
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
Manhattan is a witty comedy-drama that most certainly ranks as one of Woody Allen's most aesthetically charming films. New York City is affectionately lensed in black-and-white, and brought to life with a score featuring music by George Gershwin. There are several inspired moments: A twilight scene filmed under the Brooklyn Bridge; a conversation between Allen and Keaton in silhouette against a background of stars and planets at the Natural History Museum in Central Park, a scene which beautifully encapsulates the irony at the centre of Woody's persona.
At the same time, however, I cannot escape the feeling that our experience of the characters in Manhattan is, for the most part, a cerebral one. We do not care for Isaac the way we cared for, say, Alvy in Annie Hall. Stunning, intelligent, undoubtedly the work of a very accomplished filmmaker, but the film lacks the heart of some of his other work. Perhaps one of the few moments that really does engage the heart as well as the head, is the final shot of Woody, a typically Allenesque moment tinged by a sense of hope as well as melancholy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection, Sept. 22 2003
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
I have seen a dozen or so movies that come very close to capturing the true art of filmmaking, but this one nails it. Woody Allen's genius is all here, spread before us in a rich tapestry that validates in one perfect effort the suspicions that we have from watching his other films.
The story is set on a lush canvas of Gordon Willis cinematography and George Gershwin score, and you are carried sweetly into the sublime swirl of New York City from the first rhapsodic blend of music, monologue and images. For those who love New York (and those who may never see it) it should be known that the quintessence of the City is precisely captured here in sound, light, and character.
True to form, Allen strings his instrument with the requisite elements of life and relationships-- love, romance, friendship, betrayal, and essential insecurity-- and plucks them in perfect harmony. In subtle brilliance, he does not lead you directly in this film, but allows you to go looking on your own volition for his simmering meaning of love and life. The camera is a poignant voyeur as Allen's character searches earnestly (and obstinately) for answers to the wrong questions. He is confounded but for the allure of the pure and benevolent Mariel Hemingway, who plays the angelic savior of his soul.
In the end, the ultimate message that Woody's character learns in Manhattan is the same rich reward that we earn from our experience in watching this movie... that hope, patience, and faith are the virtues that always keep their promises.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Woody Allen Film?, July 4 2003
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
In many ways "Annie Hall" is Woody Allen's signature film, but I think "Manhattan" is the better movie. Allen stars as Isaac Davis, a forty-something writer with a teenage girlfriend, Tracy, (Mariel Hemingway in an excellent performance) and a lesbian ex-wife (Meryl Streep in a small role). His best friend Yale (Michael Murphy) is having an affair with the bitter, intellectual Mary (Diane Keaton). Predictably, she and Isaac despise each other at first and then fall in love. Although Isaac chooses her over Tracy, dismissing the latter as just a kid, he later comes to regret the decision.
Besides being wonderful in the areas of acting, writing, and directing, "Manhattan" is a real treat to look at. The black and white photography by Gordon Willis gives the film an old-fashioned look. This, along with the classical soundtrack, creates a romantic, idealistic feel that clashes with the characters' coarse language and often amoral behavior. The look of the film, and the soundtrack, represent how Isaac wants to see his city ("he idolized it all out of proportion"), in contrast to how it really is.
Without giving anything away, the conclusion is absolutely sublime and perfectly ambiguous, with Isaac being asked to do the one thing that may be impossible for him. You'll see what I mean.
It may take a while to get really involved in the movie but once you do, it will charm you and break your heart. Essential for any lover of film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Woody Allen film. Seriously., June 7 2003
By 
Benjamin (ATLANTA, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
Though some people are partial to ANNIE HALL, which is an excellent film, I'll take MANHATTAN. I mean, the Gershwin music is amazing. The black-and-white cityscape cinematography is absolutely beautiful, and it fills up the frame so completely that the film is impossible to watch without widescreen formatting. As for the story, it's another convoluted Woody Allen piece, where the characters likely think too much for their own good.
Allen plays a writer struggling with, among other things, abandoning his job with a TV show that's just not funny, his girlfriend who's still in high school and his lesbian ex-wife's new tell-all book about their marriage. Things get more complicated when he finds out that his best friend has recently taken up an extramarital affair with a completely unbearable woman, played by Diane Keaton. Of course, Allen discovers over time that she might not be that bad.
This is the film which showed that Allen was capable of more than one truly great piece of serious cinema.
And with Meryl Streep and Mariel Hemingway turning in winning roles on top of all that, you'll quickly find yourself in love with this movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great paeans to New York City, June 2 2003
By 
Robert Moore (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
I liked this movie so much when it came out that I almost immediately went out and saw it again. It remains today almost as fresh and marvelous as when I first saw it. Partly the reason for this is the incredibly crisp, beautiful black and white photography, which lends the film a kind of timelessness. The cinematography also is remarkable for being filmed in the widest film ratio (2.35:1), the only time that Woody Allen has used this ratio. He almost always uses 1.85:1. The greatest thing about the photography and the wider ratio is that Allen is able to use it to show effectively the enormous love he has for his home city. In no movie has Manhattan been portrayed so beautifully or exhilaratingly.
MANHATTAN was one of two transition films for Woody Allen. Along with ANNIE HALL and INTERIORS, he made the move from purely comic director to a more serious filmmaker. Although my own bias is in favor of the earlier, funnier Allen, I do dearly love both ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN. In these two films he struck a perfect balance between laughs and seriousness. Too many of his later efforts lean too heavily in the serious direction.
The cast, like most Woody Allen films, is absolutely first rate. Ever since ANNIE HALL, Allen has had a genius for having actors and actresses in some of their earliest roles before going on later to become well known or even better known. This film was Meryl Streep's second major film appearance (after DEER HUNTER the previous year) and it was the first major role for Mariel Hemingway, who was just transcendently beautiful in this film. Diane Keaton, of course, had appeared in several of Woody Allen's films when they were romantically involved, but thankfully this didn't keep them from working together on additional films.
As a one-time would-be Kierkegaard scholar, I have always been keenly attuned to film or any other cultural references to him, and I would be remiss if I didn't point out that this film contains a brief discussion of his thought much to my delight, and much better one than the rather bizarre quotation from Kierkegaard in Chinese in WAYNE'S WORLD.
The use of Gershwin is just exquisite. Beautiful music used in a very beautiful film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "New York Was His Town And It Always Would Be!", April 17 2003
By 
Alex Udvary (chicago, il United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Manhattan (DVD)
Woody Allen's "Mahattan" is one of the all-time great American films of the past century. It's one of Allen's best and most respected films. And I feel it has that "classic" Woody Allen persona. The wise-cracks, the views of New York, and his ideas on love.
It's hard for me to pin point the "main" story-line concerning the film. To some I suppose it's about a relationship dealing with Isaac Davis (Allen) and a 17 year old Tracy (Mariel Hemingway, in an Oscar nominated performance). Others still my say it's about Yale (Michael Murphy) cheating on his wife, Emily (Anne Byrne) with Mary (Diane Keaton). Or, perhaps you feel it's the story of Isaac and Mary falling in love. And if that doesn't do it for you, we also have the story concerning Isaac and his ex wife, Jill (Meryl Streep), who left him for another woman and has now written a "tell all" book about their marriage. So what is "Manhattan" about? I guess it's about all of these things. It's about people living in the "Big Apple" finding and losing love. Coming to term with themselves and realizing who they are. For example, Isaac comes to realize that he really let the one girl who he loved slip away. Yale and Mary come to realize they really are in love. And Tracy goes from being a young girl to a woman, and probably the most level-headed character in the movie.
"Mahattan" is one of those movies that whenever it's on tv I have to watch it, despite the fact that I own the movie. But, I just can't resist it. Whenever I go to New York, I have to watch this before I leave. It just puts me in the mood to go. And as soon as I come back I have to watch it again, because I miss it.
If you weren't able to tell before Woody Allen loves New York and what a perfect valentine for the greatest city in the world he made. The cinematography by Gordin Willis is beautiful. It has to rank among the best of his films. It's a shame he didn't win or even get nominated for an Oscar. He really shows the city in all it's beauty. The use of Gershwin music adds to the film's more romantic moments. Think of the scene where Allen and Keaton are walking through the street and "Someone To Watch Over Me" plays as they sit under the bridge. You just can't beat that moment! What about the end of the movie when "But Not For Me" is playing and we're unsure if the two lovers will get together in the end?
For those who have never watched a Woody Allen, this is a great place to start. I think of this movie as the "sister" of "Annie Hall". Two of the most charming romantic comedies of all-time. I really love this movie and I'm glad to see so many others do as well. I hope people who come to watch this in the future will appreciate it as much as I do.
Bottom-line: One of Woody Allen's best films. Made durning a time most people feel Allen was at his peek, the 70's. One of the best romantic comedies of all time!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Why do we complain?, Oct. 25 2002
By 
Jeffrey Leeper "kem2070" (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Manhattan (VHS Tape)
Think of the postcards or pictures that you see of some romantic scene. These pictures are usually in black and white and are usually set in a romantic place like Paris. In this movie, Woody Allen films the entire movie in black and white and gives you these romantic shots. It is not that the story is about romance, but he is showing you the romance of the everyday in New York. This is a beautiful view.
Allen's character is in a muddle. His is ex-wife is now a lesbian who is writing a tell-all book about him. His girlfriend is under-aged and leaving for Europe. His best friend is having an affair and Allen falls in love with her. This is classic Woody Allen. You find yourself caught up in all the situations and questions of the modern world and continually find yourself focusing on the problems.
Why do we complain about all this? Because it helps to keep us from being overwhelmed with the world. All we need do is focus on the beautiful things. Here, focus on "Manhattan" and Manhattan, and enjoy life. It is beautiful.
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