I believe Woody Allen is a damaged man and that 1979’s Manhattan is damaged goods.  That 42-year-old Isaac (Allen) will wait six months for teenaged Tracy (Mariel Hemingway) to return from London without hooking up with another woman, and that Tracy, however pure-hearted, will refuse to take up with any smitten boy during that time, is laughably absurd.  Yet the film subtly and patently wants us to believe this.

Allen’s story is so thin we have to listen to the one-liners to enjoy anything in the film.  Not that the jokes are always good—and the one about the psychiatrist in a coma is tasteless—but heartening wit does spring up.  So does fundamental silliness (Oh, that character played by Michael Murphy!)


Cover of "Manhattan"

Cover of Manhattan