Manhattan (15) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Woody Allen's greatest film? Hard to argue with its superlatively funny screenplay (by Allen and Marshall Brickman), Gordon Willis's lustrous monochrome photography, the spiffy George Gershwin score and stand-out performances.

Allen excels as the insecure TV writer who wants to be a novelist, and he coaxes fantastic performances from Diane Keaton as his intellectual soul-mate and Mariel Hemingway as his young adorer. Here, as never before, he turned sadness into something romantic and despair into something witty. "You have to have a little faith in people," Hemingway tells him at the end. If only we could have faith in Allen today.