"And now look. This is what happens to us."
An idea for a short story about, um, people in Manhattan who are constantly creating these real, unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves cos it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about... the universe.
One of the best known movies by Woody Allen
, universally loved by the audience and famously loathed by the author himself. In many respects it resembles Annie Hall
: not only because a female protagonist is played in both films by Diane Keaton but also because it shows that the most important problems associated with relationships simply cannot be solved once and for ever - all this in a typical Allenian sweet-and-sour, self-ironic mood. However, in Manhattan
the distinction between primary and secondary characters is much more fluent, so the movie is more about the particular situations than persons. One of the important subjects is maturity and its relation to the conflict between emotions and reason, but, as this is a Woody Allen
movie, it is mainly about love, human imperfection and the difficulties which stem from them.
The plot revolves around a couple of intellectual, semi-bohemian friends living in Manhattan, every one of whom has his own problems, intertwining with those of the others. Isaac (Ike) is a neurotic, self-ironic
, impulsive, middle-aged aspiring writer, whose wife Jill, the mother of his son Willie, divorced him after discovering that she's in fact a lesbian
and now is writing an autobiographical novel about their former relationship. Tracy, his 17-years-old lover, has to deal with her growing love towards Ike and the age difference between her and the majority of Ike's friends. Yale, Ike's friend, dreams of becoming a writer, even though his wife Emily strongly suggests that it's time to settle down and have kids; his life changes even more when he meets Mary, an extroverted, erudite journalist. Mary quickly becomes infatuated, but it is hard for her to say whether the object of her feelings is Ike or Yale. There is also Jeremiah, Mary's ex-husband, and Jill's new partner Connie. First, Hilarity Ensues
, then, as usual in Allen's works, things become more complicated.
- All Women Are Prudes: strongly subverted.
- Amicably Divorced: Isaac and Jill are divorced, but it doesn't stop them to behave Like an Old Married Couple from time to time.
- Anguished Declaration of Love:
"So, do you miss me?"
"Yeah. Do you miss me?"
"Of course I miss you. I love you. That's why I come and get you all the time."
- The Anti-Nihilist: both Isaac and Yale bear traces of this.
- Author Avatar: as usual in Allen's movies.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Did Not Get the Girl: everyone, in the end.
- Better as Friends: Ike and Jill. It even seems they knew it already during their relationship:
"My analyst warned me, but you were so beautiful I got another analyst."
- Betty and Veronica: Tracy and Mary for Ike.
- Big Apple Sauce: see the title.
- Bookworm: Ike, Yale and Mary.
- Broken Bird: subverted, as Tracy gets dumped by Ike, but gets over it, presumably becoming stronger and more mature.
- The City: as the title shows.
- Creator Backlash: Allen disliked the film so much that he offered to make another one for the studio for free if they don't release this one.
- Deliberately Monochrome
- Directed By Castmember
- Dramatic Stutter: happens to Ike.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In a meta sense. Mia Farrow makes a cameo in the film, and for the next decade and a half, Farrow would replace Keaton in Allen's films.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: Isaac and Mary.
"Facts. I got a million facts at my fingertips. They mean nothing cos nothing worth knowing is understood with the mind. Everything valuable enters through a different opening, if you'll forgive the disgusting imagery. (...) The brain is the most overrated organ."
- Freudian Excuse: subverted by Ike's jokes.
- Friends Rent Control
- Green-Eyed Monster: too many to count, but most notably Ike trying to run his wife's lover over with a car.
- Kavorka Man: both Ike and Yale, apparently.
- Incompatible Orientation: Jill towards Isaac. (However, it is suggested that it may also be a case of Bi the Way in connection with Sorry, I'm Gay.)
- Jewish Complaining: according to Jill, Ike was prone to do that.
- Jews Love to Argue: as shown by the debates between Ike and Yale.
- Love Dodecahedron: very much.
- Man Child: Yale, from Emily's point of view.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Mary, most of the time.
- May-December Romance: Ike and Tracy.
- Most Writers Are Writers: and Ike is no exception.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Isaac, after his break-up with Tracy.
- Nervous Wreck: Ike, in a way typical for Allen's protagonists.
- The Power of Love: played with, in the conversations between Ike and Tracy about Tracy's travel to London.
- Reasoning with God: invoked by Isaac in his cool and unusual compliment of Tracy's looks:
"You're... You're God's answer to Job. You would have ended all argument between them. He'd have said "I do a lot of terrible things but I can also make one of these." And Job would've said "OK, you win.""
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jill and Isaac like to engage in this.
- Romantic Comedy: of Allenish variety.
- Scenery Porn: in spite of the black'n'white vision. The title says it all.
- Shout Outs: quite a lot, especially in the first conversation between Ike and Mary.
- The Shrink: Mary calls hers Donny.
- Slice of Life
- Small Name, Big Ego: Yale seems to suffer from this.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Ike and Mary have their moments.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Mary and Jeremiah.
- The Three Faces of Eve: very fitting to the Freudian Trio pattern: with Tracy as a child (or the Ego, in the process of development), Emily as a wife (or the Superego, exhorting to emotional maturity), and Mary as a seductress (or the wild Id).
- Triang Relations: where to begin?...
- Type 1: Ike (a), Tracy (b) and Mary (c).
- Type 3: Mary (a), Ike (b) and Yale (c).
- Type 7: for some time, Yale (a), Emily (b) and Mary (c).
- Type 9: Mary (a), Yale (b) and Ike (c).
- Type 10: Emily (a), Yale (b) and Mary (c).
- True Art Is Angsty: Yale's opinion.
- Visit by Divorced Dad: Ike and Willie.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Tracy.
- Writer's Block: the movie begins with a mild case of that.
- Your Cheating Heart: Yale towards Emily.