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Manhattan

Director: Woody Allen

(1979| 96 minutes|18)


This is a film of many distinctions: its glorious all-Gershwin score; its breathtakingly elegant black-and-white, widescreen cinematography by Gordon Willis; its deeply shaded performances; its witty screenplay that marked a new level in Allen’s artistic maturity; and its catalogue of ‘Things that Make Life Worth Living’. Allen’s ‘Rhapsody in Gray’ concerns, as his own character puts it, ‘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.’ The opening shot is a stunner, looking West across Central Park at dawn while Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue does what it always does—makes us feel transcendent. Manhattan is a romantic comedy about infidelity and betrayal, the rules of love and friendship, young girls (a radiant and sweet Mariel Hemingway) and older men (Allen), innocence and sophistication, and the movie puts those ideas across with such emotion that you feel an ache in your heart.

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