MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
In many ways, “Manhattan” seems to be an odd sequel to “Annie Hall.” And it also feels like the movie that Woody Allen was compelled to make to continue and complete some of the repercussions of his earlier New York film.
Again, we see Allen as a middle-aged writer struggling to find a real relationship. He’s dating a seventeen-year-old girl (Mariel Hemingway), which is eerily prophetic to Allen’s future life. But an encounter with his friend’s mistress (Diane Keaton) sends him into another love affair, more of the mind than of the genitals.
Like “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan” can be quite funny at times, though it doesn’t break the fourth wall and seems less narrative. In many obvious ways, “Manhattan” is a love letter to Allen’s New York home. But at the same time, the subtext pokes fun at those who romanticize not just the city, but romance. Like his most recent “Midnight in Paris,” “Manhattan” plays as a love letter to a city. However, the underlying message is to not get wrapped up in thinking about what can be but to enjoy what is. Like Owen Wilson’s speech near the end of “Midnight in Paris,” so much is said blatantly in the opening narration of “Manhattan.”
Allen’s cynicism rears its head in this movie quite a bit, and in many ways he pokes fun at his own audience, though I doubt his die-hard fans catch it. This goes beyond the pseudo-intellectual in the movie line in “Annie Hall.” “Manhattan” is Allen firing back at those folks who overanalyze his own work, again seeming to shrug his shoulders and deny that what he has to say is really all that important at all.
In the end, “Manhattan” is less accessible to the average viewer and made more for the Woody Allen fan. There’s some great moments in the film, but it’s quite a bit more forgettable than his better movies.
With so many comparisons one can make between “Manhattan” and “Annie Hall,” it seems logical that the “Manhattan” Blu-ray would come with the same amount of bonus features, which would be only the theatrical trailer.