What happens is not the substance of Manhattan as much as how it happens. The movie is full of moments that are uproariously funny and others that are sometimes shattering for the degree in which they evoke civilized desolation.
Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times
this is a very good movie. Woody Allen is ... Woody, sublimely. Diane Keaton gives us a fresh and nicely edged New York intellectual. And Mariel Hemingway deserves some kind of special award for what's in some ways the most difficult role in the film.
Jay ScottThe Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Never before has Allen been able to integrate comedy and pathos as deftly as he does in Manhattan. [28 Apr 1979, p. 17]
Jaime N. ChristleySlant Magazine
Gordon Willis's too-dark lensing is an ideal match for the Scenes from a Marriage-inspired sequences of marital and amorous discord.
Julie SalamonWall Street Journal
With his co-writer, Randy Sue Coburn, and composer Mark Isham, director Alan Rudolph has created a sense of time and place that authentically conveys what it might have been like when writers were celebrities and special effects came from words. [10 Jan 1995, p.A18]
Woody Allen uses New York City as a backdrop for the familiar story of the successful but neurotic urban over-achievers whose relationships always seem to end prematurely. The film is just as much about how wonderful a place the city is to live in as it is about the elusive search for love.