Thursday, August 27, 2009

Manhattan (1979)

"Manhattan" is a story of many different types of relationships.  Woody Allen is a divorced man who is in a relationship with a 17 year old high school student.  Allen's ex-wife, played by Meryl Streep, is writing a book about how terrible their relationship was.  He is not happy about that.  Michael Murphy plays Allen's best friend who is having an affair with Diane Keaton, even though he is married.  Keaton ends up leaving Murphy since she does not want to be a home wrecker.  She starts to date Allen, which means he leaves his high school girl.  Keaton then realizes she is still in love with Murphy, so she goes back to him.  Allen tries to go back with the high school student, who is now 18, but she is planning a trip to London.

All of this sounds very confusing, especially when written down.  With so many characters, you would think the film would be confusing to keep track of who is with who.  But it is not confusing at all.  Allen does a great job writing and directing the film to keep it alive and working.  

Woody Allen also does a great job acting in this film.  He is a great comedic actor who can complain like no other.  Diane Keaton was great and so was Mariel Hemmingway, who was nominated for an Oscar that year.  Hemmingway was the high school student.

I really enjoy how natural everything is in this film.  Every conversation and everything that happens really relates to real life.  I think Allen has an exceptional talent to show the comedy of real life.  My favorite scene is Allen and Hemmingway just lying in bed together watching TV.  They start talking about the phony wig the man on the TV is wearing.  Simple conversation like that is so important in a film like this.  It really makes it stand out.

People that know me know that I am very picky about comedies.  I don't like many modern comedies.  Movies that just go for straight laughs are not my cup of tea.  "Manhattan" however, is the type of comedy I prefer.  It has a splendid mix of comedy with drama.  That is what I like.

B+  I recommend it.

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