8-14 December 2008

December 20 2008 at 7:59 am (The list)

Sorry, it’s a bit late but here’s a review of the only film I watched last week.


manhatManhattan (1979)

Woody Allen’s love letter to his home town of New York City must be one of the most beautifully shot romantic comedies in screen history. Isaac Davis (Allen) is dating 17-year-old girl Tracy (Mariel Hemingway, who was nominated for an Academy Award), but starts having an affair with Mary (Diane Keaton) who happens to be his married best friend’s mistress. There’s also an early screen appearance by Meryl Streep as Isaac’s lesbian ex-wife who’s writing a book about their relationship. Shot in black and white for a gloriously romantic look, the film is full of striking images, such as an unforgettable shot of Isaac and Mary sat on a bench with the enormous 52nd Street Bridge looming above them. The music of George Gershwin is also used to great effect. It’s so well paced that you barely notice how much is going on. Allen’s tight script is full of sparkling dialogue (‘I like the way you express yourself; it’s pithy yet degenerate’), by turns dauntingly intelligent and disarmingly warm. More than anything, though, in just over 90 minutes Manhattan encapsulates succinctly the whole arc of a doomed love affair from first meeting to ugly break-up.


Rating: 5/5


Shame list total: 1,228


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