Forty-two-year-old Manhattan native Isaac Davis (Woody Allen) loathes his job as a hack television comedy writer, can’t really see a future with his seventeen year old girlfriend, Tracy (Mariel Hemingway, in an Oscar-nominate role) and is paying alimony to two ex-wives, one of whom, Jill (Meryl Streep) - who has since come out as a lesbian - is writing a tell-all book about their acrimonious split.
Projecting an idealised self onto the protagonist of his debut novel – ‘He adored New York City. He romanticized it out of all proportion’ Isaac reads aloud in a voice-over underscored by the sweeping orchestral flourish of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in the film’s justly famous opening sequence – though struggling to find personal or professional fulfillment, Isaac quits his job to focus on a shaky career as a would-be author. He also begins a relationship with his married best friend, Yale's ex-mistress, Mary (Allen’s Annie Hall leading lady, Diane Keaton), a spiky literary journalist he finds himself irresistibly drawn to, further complicating a neurosis-riddled journey of self-discovery, self-sabotage and, with any luck, a measure of self-acceptance. Screens in a new 4k digital restoration.
“Manhattan is not just Woody Allen's dream movie. Wistful as it is witty, it's his dream of the movies.” J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
“A sparkling romance about the overspecialized anxieties of over-intellectualized New Yorkers…a[n] authentic and magnanimous comic perception of human vanity and foolhardiness.” The Washington Post