Thursday, 2 September 2010

She's 17. I'm 42 and she's 17. I'm older than her father, can you believe that? I'm dating a girl, wherein, I can beat up her father.

No 76 - Manhattan
Director - Woody Allen

The thing that I like about Woody Allen is that, as unlikely as it sounds, he is a massive ladies man. I kind of like that, because he really doesn't look or act like he should be.

And so, a certain part of me assumes that his films are a form of wish fulfilment, that he can use them to cast beautiful women around him. But no, this happened in real life too. Yet he seems such an unappealing prospect - in this film maybe even more than others.

Woody Allen is famed for being whiny and neurotic, it is his shtick. However, his character Isaac is REALLY whiny and neurotic, even more so than usual. Or maybe it is the fact that Manhattan is a little bit more serious in tone than some of the other Allen films on the list. Therefore, his neuroses aren't countered by the oddness of the humour and subsequently come out into the foreground.

The film follows Isaac, who has recently gone through some awkward divorces and is now dating a 17 year old called Tracy. The two have a seemingly healthy relationship (besides the mahoosive age gap) which involves meandering around the place and eating Chinese food out of those little boxes that we don't get in the UK.
However, the relationship with Tracy is all part of his existential dilemma. He doesn't like his job, he is uncomfortable in his love life. He needs direction. He seemingly finds it in Mary and the two have a little relationship together. The relationship is littered with some wonderful iconic shots of New York - the real star of the film.

The wonderful shots of New York are made even more magical by the choice to film it in black and white, it makes it feel timeless and a bit ethereal, which is nice because I really felt nothing for the characters.
I've already noted that Isaac's neuroses outweigh his over perks, but Mary feels equally unlikable. She lacks the charm of Annie Hall and instead seems a bit pretentious and pseudo-intellectual. A bit like every conversation with her would be a game of one-up-man-ship in which she would have to remind you - multiple times - that she is very beautiful.

It took me about 30 minutes to realise what it takes Isaac the entire film to realise. He would be better with Tracy. Regardless of age. She is the only character in the film that comes off as likable and sound. She is the only character who makes Isaac less whiny - and that can only be a good thing.

One last thing..... Check out young Wallace Shawn! AMAZING!

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