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Manhattan is a beautifully shot piece of film with stunning, black-and-white, haunting images and the supporting performances in this movie are spectacular, especially the sweet Mariel Hemingway. Woody Allen plays his usual neurotic and self-centered urbanite. He is the protagonist of the movie and as such should hold our sympathy during the entanglements in the latter part of the movie, but because of his selfish streak, he becomes quite unbearable. There is much truth and identification-material in his character however, though unpleasant as that may well be. Woody Allen's trademark comedy flows as an undercurrent throughout the movie, usually derived from his character's snappy remarks and well-crafted dialogue, but is more clever than funny.
Certainly this film is well acted and expertly written but I think what really shines is the absolute stunning beauty of it. Some shots are simply some of the best frames in film history. Gordon Willis is a god of cinematography and this is probably his best work (yes even better than The Godfather movies).
Simply put this movie is porn for black-and-white film aficionados.
Some of the dialogue was interesting but, come on, it was boring and Mariel Hemmingways character at 17 years old attraction to Woody Allen, 42, is bewildering. I even found him hanging outside the high school creepy. Think of it this way, why was her character 17? What did it add to the movie that a 23 year old character in college couldn't have done for the story.
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In 19 official lists
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This movie ranks #19 in TimeOut's 100 Best Romantic Movies
This movie ranks #34 in BAFTA - Best Film
This movie ranks #46 in AFI's 100 years...100 laughs
This movie ranks #47 in 1970s
This movie ranks #48 in National Board of Review - Best Film
This movie ranks #66 in AFI's 100 years...100 passions
This movie ranks #69 in Stanley Kubrick, Cinephile
This movie ranks #76 in Empire 500
This movie ranks #93 in Cahiers du cinéma 100
This movie ranks #106 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #115 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #128 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #177 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #186 in Film Comedy
This movie ranks #337 in National Film Registry
This movie ranks #370 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #539 in The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #585 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #651 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die