Manhattan | Chicago Reader


Rated R 96 minutes 1979

Woody Allen's great leap forward into character development and dramatic integrity (1979). The story is La Ronde with a thrown cog, as Allen's Isaac Davis, a television writer with serious aspirations, turns among three women (Mariel Hemingway, Diane Keaton, and Meryl Streep), his spin impelled by best friend Michael Murphy. The script is funny and observant, full of shocks of recognition, but for all his progress as a writer, Allen's direction remains disconcertingly amateurish. The visuals are cramped and gray, the pacing is rough, and the performances are pitched on disruptively different levels of stylization. Still, it remains perhaps the only film in which Allen has been able to successfully imagine a personality other than his own. With Anne Byrne.

Film Credits

Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

Producer: Robert Greenhut, Charles H. Joffe and Jack Rollins

Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, Michael Murphy, Meryl Streep, Anne Byrne, Karen Ludwig, Michael O'Donoghue, Tisa Farrow, Helen Hanft, Bella Abzug, Gary Weis, Charles Levin, Karen Allen, David Rasche, Wallace Shawn, Mark Linn-Baker, Frances Conroy and Ray Serra

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