Saturday, February 18, 2012


Manhattan just came out on blu-ray. I wish I had a blu-ray player.

From Film Freak Central:

Anyway, Manhattan's ending scene is a stone classic--it's spirited and honest and hugely sad and completely satisfying, all at the same time. Realizing too late what a good thing he had, Isaac tries desperately to ring Tracy up before she leaves for an extended stay in London. Unable to reach her, he hits the streets, first staggering a little and clutching at a lung, then hitting the kind of stride Allen himself used to in his days on the track-and-field team as Isaac races across town, "Strike Up the Band" urging him on. He finds her in the lobby of her building, with just enough time to say goodbye. (Tellingly, the film's soundtrack has segued to "But Not For Me.") Begs her to stay. But it's too late.

He says he fears something he likes about her will change. "Six months isn't so long," she tells him, correctly, as "Rhapsody in Blue" begins to well up again. It doesn't take. (At this point, Isaac isn't worried about six months so much as the rest of his life.) "Not everybody gets corrupted," she says, with a wryness that notes his tendency to believe the worst of others. Finally, she tries a direct appeal: "You have to have a little faith in people." Only then does Allen allow a small, sheepish smile to creep across his face. Nevertheless, he's troubled. He has enough faith in her strength and her goodness to know that once she goes, she won't return, at least not to him. He can barely meet her gaze, and his head bobs around a little bit, the tough New York nebbish's face-saving substitute for the incoherence of tears.

SMASH CUT TO: The Manhattan skyline, as Gershwin and the Philharmonic roar back at full volume. Sunset over the Upper West Side, apartment buildings looming over Central Park. And, finally, a distant view of buildings flanked by the towers of the George Washington Bridge followed by the cut to credits. The film's opening sequence was funny, stirring, and beautiful, but this brief cascade of images kills me every time I see it. It's not that Manhattan has an unhappy ending, per se. It has the ending that it needs, the one Tracy needs, the one that says life will go on. Tracy will find happiness. For Isaac, it's a different story. There's nothing he can do now but say goodbye and sleep in the empty bed of his own making.

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