I’m sitting down and the movie starts and as time passes by, I feel bizarre feelings rise up inside me, I start feeling a bit stupid and ignorant. Let me explain that as much as I love movies, my love for sitcoms is unsurpassed. I’ve even watched some of them more than once. with other shows, I have never even missed a rerun.
I used to love Sex and the City for showing me the city, for those scenes where Carrie and Miranda are wondering through Central Park discussing, for showing me the small delis of Manhattan and making me feel as if I knew a city that I’d been to. I also loved Friends for its humour, for those extremely funny situations that the show’s characters can’t help but create. I found it hilarious that a Jewish guy (Ross) had to deal with the fact that his wife was having his baby raised with her girlfriend partner. And then there was Gilmore Girls with its high-speed dialogue and colourful characters.
It’s well known that there is no such thing as parthenogenesis in art. The fact that I do know this doesn’t mean that I didn’t get disappointed when I realized that some of my favourite sitcoms were inspired by this movie and I had been left totally clueless.
Manhattan is a movie written and directed by Woody Allen in 1979. It’s the story of Isaac Davis, a forty-something year old man who quits his day job as a comic-book writer in order to write a novel of his own. He is twice divorced and his second wife Jill, played by Meryl Streep, is raising their kid with her female partner. While he’s stuck trying to figure out things career-wise, he needs to find time for his love-life. He’s dating a 17-year old student Tracy, played by Mariel Hemingway. He’s aware of the problems that arise out of the age difference, and he knows that he’s involved in a dead-end relationship. So, when he meets his best friend’s mistress Mary, played by Diane Keaton, he figures that she’s probably the one.
In a few words Manhattan has it all. It has the sex, the city, the friends, the relationships, the speedy dialogue and the nerve that characterizes New Yorkers. The movie is filmed in black-and-white – something Woody Allen disliked so much that he was initially willing to make a deal with the studios not to proceed with it. Manhattan gained two Oscar nominations, one of them for Best Writing. It’s the movie that inspired so many, it’s a movie way ahead of its era and it makes the viewer realize what a visionary filmmaker Woody Allen really is. While you watch it, you get what ‘Manhattan’ is all about: it shows the kind of situations you have to deal with nowadays, making you wonder whether Woody Allen is some kind of prophet or that society simply has the same problems thirty years down the road. No wonder Manhattan is considered by so many as a must-see movie.