Saturday, March 10, 2007


Rating : 9/10

Of all Woody Allen’s oeuvres, this one for me remains his seminal piece. The Oscar winning Annie Hall is preferred by many; Allen’s biting satire, acerbic wit and resplendently witty humour is all too evident in that film. However, the black and white treatment of Manhattan clinches it for me; I fell in love with it watching it alone on a slow Friday evening. And alone is how all of Woody Allen’s movies should be watched. The slices of life they portray, the frank evocations of reality they show and the emotions they elicit in the viewer are best enjoyed in solitude.

Manhattan stars Woody Allen as Isaac Davis, an out-of-work comedy writer who’s just coming out of a nasty divorce. It is of interest to note that in all his movies, Allen seems to be playing himself. He is often depicted as a Neurotic Jewish person mostly having a career in film or television. Anyway, back to the plot. Isaac’s ex-wife( played by a stunningly beautiful Meryl Streep) is writing a stunning revelatory memoir of their marriage and the break-up which will make Allen look like a neurotic fruitcake given his idiosyncratic tendencies. Allen is dating a sweet high school kid, but refuses to take her seriously. Into this mélange of complex relationships enters Mary Wiley (Diane Keaton), Issac’s best friend’s mistress whom Ike seeks solace in. The story is set in the eponymous Manhattan; the beauty of the city is captured in various scenes. The black and white treatment really accentuates the business of the bustling streets, the lonely park benches late at night the beautiful bridges and the bright street lights. You feel the thrum of New York behind you, the fragility of its people, the harsh uncaring relentlessness with which it bears down on its denizens. And as in most of Allen’s movies, there are no happy endings to be had. Life is not a cakewalk, it’s a flippin tiger waiting to pounce just when you’ve become comfortable. Hope is all Allen leaves us with; a glimmering sneak peek at what could be, if…

I am yet a newcomer to the world of Allen’s vast movie collection. But from what I’ve seen, this quirky bloke is funny as fuck and has a directing sense unique in my experience of Hollywood. I’m certain that I’ll be going through the entire Allen repertoire before I die, so help me God...

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