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Film / Little Manhattan

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Small love in a big city, in the eyes of children.

Little Manhattan is a 2005 romantic comedy written and directed by the husband-and-wife team of Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett.

The movie depicts the story of ten-year-old Gabe's realization that girls can be pretty and pretty nice to be with. The story takes place, and was filmed on location, in Manhattan, mostly in the Upper West Side. The film stars Josh Hutcherson and Charlie Ray in the leading roles of the two children.

10-year-old Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) meets 11-year-old Rosemary Telesco (Charlie Ray), a girl he's known since kindergarten. But after being partnered with her for sparring, he suddenly notices her as a girl, not another face. To Gabe's elation, they begin spending time together and he is completely enamored with not only her, but her life.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Rosemary, to a degree, due to training in martial arts class alongside Gabe.
  • An Aesop: The key to a successful relationship is being honest about your problems rather than holding secrets from each other.
  • As Himself: Mike Chat, the host of the Show Within the Show.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Averted. Gabe and his father spend time together by practicing his placekicking. Narrator!Gabe compares their relationship to Tiger and Earl.
  • Bald of Authority: Gabe's karate sensei.
  • Beta Couple: Inverted. Gabe and Rosemary start to get going right as Gabe's parents are right on the brink of divorce.
  • Big Applesauce: Manhattan.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Rosemary goes off to camp and private school after Gabe's last dance with her, but it's implied that Gabe's parents rediscover their 'spark' and his family stays happy and whole.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Well, Gabe's black friend is the only one who gets "kooties infection", so it's the nearest it gets for this trope.
  • Bowdlerise: The Disney Channel airing of the movie in the US cuts off most of the bad words (and one barber scene), including the Precision H Strike mentioned below.
  • Bullying A Pair Of Dragons: A schoolyard bully accosts Gabe and Rosemary while they are together. Seeing as one of the several subplots in the movie has Gabe and Rosemary attempting to ascend the ranks of their karate school... this didn't work out too well for the bully.
  • Celebrity Resemblance:
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Cool Teacher: Gabe's karate sensei. Also Mike Chat in his Imagine Spot.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Gabe, tough it's mostly played for laughs.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As the narrator, Gabe has some shades of this.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Rosemary feels she's too young for a relationship and turns Gabe down. However, she acquiesces to dancing with him.
  • Epic Fail: Gabe breaks his hand trying to punch through a wood block at one point in the film.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Gabe's dad.
  • First-Person Smartass: Narrator!Gabe.
  • Free-Range Children: Subverted. Gabe has a nine-block radius that he's allowed to roam unsupervised, which is still quite a lot for a ten-year-old kid living in the middle of New York City. He gets into terrible trouble for going outside of this zone and consequently taking so long to come back home that his mother calls the cops.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Rosemary's actress, ''Charlie'' Ray.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It is heavily raining the day after Gabe and Rosemary's fallout.
  • Groin Attack: Against Darryl Kitzens.
  • How We Got Here: Gabe explains in the prologue explains what happened between him and Rosemary.
  • Imagine Spot: Lots.
    • First-grade boys shooting vomit as a result of cooties is especially laugh-worthy.
    • Gabe imagining him and Rosemary doing a lot of "Chick Flick stuff".
    • Gabe confronting his "love rival" The Karate Kid style.
    • Gabe constantly sees Mike Chat as his Spirit Advisor.
  • Informed Attractiveness: According to Gabe, his mom looks like (a young) Sissy Spacek when she was young. While she was (and still is) pretty, they barely look alike aside from being a redhead.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Gabe and the elevator guy.
  • Just Friends: What they were in the beginning, and ended as such.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Both of them fall for redheads.
  • Love Hurts: Even with children.
  • Mood Whiplash: Gabe gives fair warning, but it's still jarring to go from his parents' days of young love to their divorce-pending present.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Mike Chat is constantly in a Walking Shirtless Scene.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Played for laughs in one of Gabe's Imagine Spot.
  • Parental Substitute: Rosemary has one in a nanny assigned to take care of her while her parents are out of town (which is fairly often).
  • Parent with New Paramour: Gabe's mom starts dating again after her divorce with his dad, much to his disdain.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Rosemary's flower girl dress.
  • The Place: Three guesses where the event of the movie takes place.
  • Precision H Strike: In one of the ending sequences of the movie, Gabe responds to Rosemary's invitation to dance with an almost alarmingly casual, "Sure. What the hell?"
  • Puppy Love: The Movie.
  • Recycled In Space: Essentially, it's a romantic comedy (and is called so on the back of the DVD cover) with the main characters roughly half the age they would be normally.
  • The Rival: Tim Staples for Gabe.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Doubly subverted. She is not "all grown up", per se - that's the whole point of the film - but there is still an element of the two having been acquaintances and friends since very early childhood and the romantic feelings starting to manifest after the passage of some time.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show: Mike Chat's TV show, where Gabe picks up a few karate moves... or so he thinks(?).
  • Temporary Divorce: Hinted at with Gabe's parents.
  • Tonight, Someone Kisses: A literal one, by Gabe. It only makes things worse.
  • True Blue Femininity: Rosemary's dress during their date. The same date where he kisses her.
  • Truth in Television: To a degree. While the seeds of a sex drive hopefully don't manifest until adolescence, it's not unheard of for kids - American kids in particular - to have curiosity about the opposite sex during their pre-adolescent years.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Zigzagged with Rosemary and Gabe. Both were good friends when they were younger but drifted apart only to later wind up as as couple, kinda, then become just friends again.