Manhattan (1979)

Isaac & Tracy

Isaac & Tracy

I’ll never understand the supposed sexual appeal of Woody Allen or the characters he plays in his movies. Luckily, part of the fun of watching movies is the willing suspension of disbelief. Without it, I wouldn’t have made it through Manhattan.

If you haven’t seen Manhattan, I’m sure you can guess why suspension of disbelief might be important. Here, Allen plays Isaac, who is, you guessed it; a quirky, neurotic writer dating a seventeen-year-old girl named Tracy (Mariel Hemingway). Somehow, Tracy falls head-over-heels for the guy, while he insists this will just be a stepping stone in a long line of men



she’ll eventually date. Even so, he continues dating her, even when he falls hard for his friend Yale’s mistress, Mary (Diane Keaton).

The first time Isaac meets Mary, he is completely disgusted. Did she really say that about Ingmar Bergman? The nerve! But soon her quirks and his make some sort of weird sense, and they end up together, despite the warning signs. We all know the relationship is doomed, because, well, it’s a Woody Allen movie. What

Speaks for itself...

Speaks for itself…

relationships aren’t doomed?

This movie is pretty typical Woody Allen, and it asks a lot of the same questions as Annie Hall, but does so in a different way. Not many of the characters here are likable, except maybe Tracy, and I think that’s actually the point. Throughout the film, Isaac goes on and on about his book being about the decay of culture, of society, of whatever. Mary, Isaac and Yale are all pretty well personifications of this decay. Perhaps Tracy and her uncorrupted youth is all Isaac can turn to?


1 Response to “Manhattan (1979)”

  1. 1 ego5
    May 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I recently rewatched this too! It’s my fave Woody Allen, but agree—takes some serious suspension of disbelief to appreciate how a preternaturally wise teenage knockout believes he’s the one.

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