Manhattan (Allen, 1979)


I hadn’t seen this in years, yet it feels like an old friend I didn’t quite fully appreciate. Manhattan is possibly Woody Allen’s must subtle film, walking the line between character study and romantic comedy, blurring the rules of Cinema by devoting an entire seemingly simple story to one specific dynamic space. Of course this approach highlights many different moments and places depending on the viewer and their mood, whether it be the dynamic Gershwin-themed opening crescendo, the brilliant use of light and dark in the planetarium, or the cramped, frenzied decor of Isaac’s small apartment. This makes Manhattan one of those rare films that changes effortlessly upon repeat viewings. Also, the great ending struck me as Allen’s most superb singular moment where his writing, directing, and acting all converge to illuminate one character’s potential downfall and last chance at happiness, where a flood of emotions cross the screen for just a second, leaving a great wealth of possibility to consider while the credits roll.

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