Woody Allen's Manhattan is considered as one of his best films. The only way for us to appreciate it is to watch it as if we're living in the 1970s.
Isaac (Woody Allen) is man in his forties who has been divorced twice. His latest wife, Jill (Meryl Streep), left him for a woman and she intends to write "an honest account of our (Isaac's and Jill's) mariage". Moreover, Isaac works as a comedy writer, a job he loathes, and dates Tracy (Mariel Hemingway), a seventeen-year-old girl. One day, he meets Mary (Diane Keaton), an intellectual woman. Moreover, she's also the mistress of Yale (Michael Murphy), Isaac's best friend.
Because he's married, Yale no longer dates Mary. Which leaves to Isaac the opportunity to date her and to break up with Tracy much to her surprise. Moreover, by that time, Isaac had also quit his job in order to find happiness. However, as time goes by, Yale gets back his interest for Mary, which creates a conflict between him and Isaac.
As a person from the twenty-first century, you might feel that Manhattan is just a mere film in which there are more romantic betrayals - so to speak - than in any film from Atom Agoyan. Allen's Manhattan, despite being praised by many of his fans, might just be dismissed as a very predictable soap opera. On a second thought, one has to think about the evolution of our mentality in the 1970s to understand Manhattan's small charm. This is because talking about divorce was less and less a taboo in Hollywood and our society. Thus, this gives Allen the opportunity to depict with humour the fact that men no longer find it easy to get in a relation with a woman in contemporary history. Unfortunately, the film misses a few opportunities to elaborate on this point, because the sub-plots involving Jill's desire to be with another woman and Isaac's fascination are too small. Therefore, the film probably needed to be a little longer to give us the feeling that we're living in the 1970s.
In all fairness, Manhattan is a charming and entertaining film that is a little bit overrated. What makes the film very appealing is most definitely the fact that the cast delivers its performance with a tangible enthusiasm.
|Screenplay:||Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman|
|Starring:||Woody Allen, Diane Keaton and Mariel Hemingway|