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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 25.53%
Average: 6.38%
Pretty Bad: 2.13%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 35 user ratings

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by Jay Seaver

"I don't quite see the 'love-letter to the city' aspect."
4 stars

It's almost gotten to the point where I dread the Brattle showing old Woody Allen movies - it's hard not to look at them and then wonder just what the hell has happened to the guy in recent years.

I mean, sure, we know what has happened to him, but how does one fall, creatively, from something as good as Manhattan to something as wretched as Anything Else, especially when the two are representative (if not typical) of his work at the time?

There's genius in Manhattan. Certainly, at times, it's a little much - the characters' discussions of art and philosophy often come off as the writers trying to show us how smart they are via their characters (doesn't it always?), but it at least doesn't sound horribly dated. There's a great silent-movie feel to the opening shots of the city, though, even as Woody's character tries to start his novel in voice-over. The composition of the images is much more interesting that anything Allen has done lately, and he makes wonderful use of both the widescreen canvas and black-and-white stock. And it's funny - Allen, back then, was able to walk a fine line, and say things that were both intellectual and joe six-pack at the same time. Telling a group of partygoers how a scathing editorial in the New York Times really doesn't make a point the way bricks and baseball bats do is just plain entertaining, and Diane Keaton gives a great performance opposite him.

It's tough to know just what to make of Mariel Hemingway's character in this movie, in retrospect. At times she seems more mature than any of the adult characters, but at others she just seems unaware of how the adult world works. And while she may be the best match for Allen's character, the film doesn't show us just how these two met and started seeing each other, which is almost guaranteed to skew the relationship to the creepy side. Of course, that's probably a smart, deliberate decision on Allen's part.

I don't quite see the "love-letter to the city" aspect so many talk about with this movie. Certainly, it's there in the opening, but I don't know how Manhattan-specific the rest of the movie actually is; it's a story that can take place anywhere you find smart but emotionally stunted people (and they're everywhere). It's still a great movie.

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originally posted: 06/04/04 09:26:37
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User Comments

8/19/16 Suzanne Great cinematography and music; creepy relationship with a 17-year-old 4 stars
10/22/15 David Hollingsworth Amazing film about New Yorkers! 5 stars
2/23/13 Ionicera kind of soapy, dull plot, a few good lines here & there...good cinematography 3 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess See it! 5 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 5 stars
3/27/08 SamanthaPayntr i love this movie, but Annie Hall is better, love Diane Keaton! 5 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White what a waste of time 2 stars
3/27/07 fools♫gold It reminded me of "City Lights", and that's a HUUUGGEEEE complement. 5 stars
7/11/05 Ron Sid Woody's Best! The film's beauty and dialogue are A+ 5 stars
6/06/05 John Aster Habig wonderful story of midlife crises and divorce that preaches monogamy 5 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold I was highly unentertained. Sadly, I guess it actually is about as good as it gets. 4 stars
6/07/04 Ryan Clark One of the best comedies ever; serious yet hilarious, with brilliant B&W photography. 5 stars
4/23/04 Agent Sands Great one-liners, very well-shot, directed, written, & acted. 5 stars
4/01/04 snow No its not Woodies best.... 3 stars
4/01/04 sansho A loving visual and comic treat, overflowing with warm yet spiky pleasures. Allen's best. 5 stars
1/21/04 Betty White This was when Woody Allen could crank out a good film. 5 stars
7/22/03 Monster W. Kung Allen's best. 5 stars
6/18/03 Andrew Callaway A very good Woody Allen picture.One of his best. 5 stars
4/05/03 Francy Sweet, witty, romantic. I can't express how I loved it. A masterpiece. 5 stars
2/02/03 R.W. Welch Deftly written but you really have to be into trivia. 4 stars
1/28/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer Woody Allen just doesn't rub off on me. Of what I've seen, this is his best, but... 4 stars
1/04/03 Jack Sommersby Woody Allen's best film. 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum This should have got the Best Picture Oscar, not "Annie Hall" 5 stars
10/09/02 Phil M. Aficionado Wise, witty/funny, insightful, and beautifully acted and filmed 5 stars
4/02/02 lauren mccreight not Woody's best....but worth seeing if you're a fan 3 stars
12/24/01 The Bomb 69 Beautifully shot and well acted film, not as ha-ha funny as other Allen movies 4 stars
12/05/01 Skip Young Woody's best. Glad to see it's #1 here! 5 stars
11/27/01 sdfr glows with the unmistakable aura of genius. 5 stars
11/17/01 Jake A pleasure to watch such a film 5 stars
11/11/01 Andrew Carden Very Good Movie, Hemingway Is Excellent, but Woody Seems Uncomfortable In His Role. 4 stars
8/07/01 E-Funk A quiet, beautiful story told by one of the most gifted men in modern cinema. 5 stars
2/25/01 nick berger yeah 5 stars
3/21/00 shawkin Perfect third act 5 stars
1/02/00 Tyson Stewart Perfect cinematography!! Allen's comic valentine is excellent! 5 stars
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  02-Aug-1979 (R)



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