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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 2 July 2007
Probably the sweetest motion picture of 2006 and definitely the best family-targeted movie of last year, "Little Manhattan" is a lovel little romantic comedy for pre-teens and older audiences who are children at heart. Switching masterfully between broad comedy, beautiful first love story, intense drama and reminding audiences of television show "The Wonder Years", which director Mark Levin was a co-director on, "Little Manhattan" qualifies as one of the most enchanting pictures of the year. That trash like 2005's "Cheaper by the Dozen 2", 2006's "Eight Below" and 2007's "Material Girls" can offer half-baked romances as sub-plots while the joyous "Little Manhattan" offers one of more realism and honesty is slightly sickening. That they have all achieved more viewers than this little gem is more than slightly sickening, it's a disgrace. Truth be told, this is one of the best family releases of recent times.

Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) is a carefree pre-teen boy who enjoys hanging out with his guy friends on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and detests any contact with the opposite sex, who he sees as the most icky things in existance. That all changes, however, when he starts taking karate lessons and teams up with Rosemary (Charlie Ray), a girl he has known all his life but ignored since first-grade because of the male/female divide that rapidly appeared during that time. As Rosemary and Gabe's friendship grows, Gabe is taken aback when he starts discovering feelings that he never knew existed. Far from loathing his female partner, he begins to fall in love with her.

By putting a child performer front and centre throughout, director Mark Levin's "Little Manhattan" is reliant on Josh Hutcherson's performance. Lucky then, that Hutcherson is the best child actor working today. In the lead role, Hutcherson elevates the material and plays the part of Gabe with such realism and humanity that it is easy to see him becoming a major acting star in his adulthood. Hutcherson conveys emotion and expression in a way uncanny for an actor his age and "Little Manhattan" is one of his finest performances. Opposite him in a lesser but highly significant part as love interest Rosemary is Charlie Ray. Similarly to Hutcherson, Ray plays her character wonderfully and conveys the sort of emotion and feeling that is a rarity with an actress her age. Whether Ray is Hutcherson's equal as an actress is another thing, although there's little to suggest that she isn't anywhere near.

In the two main supporting roles, Bradley Whitford and Cynthia Nixon are wonderful. Breathing life into Gabe's disconnected parents, who are seeking a divorce but remain living in the same house, the two invaluably make their respective parts more than the sideshows they could have been. Of course, the film is all about Gabe's first romantic relationship, but their less-than-romantic pairing is a fitting counterweight, made more obvious by their adept performances. Beyond these four primary roles, few characters are built-upon enough to warrant mention, benefitting the movie by not attempting to cover a vaster scope than it need.

Screenwriter Jennifer Flackett has done an excellent job at scripting an affectionate, smart screenplay detailing the trials and tribulations of a tween that avoids emotional manipulation and cheesiness in a way that is unprecedented. "Little Manhattan" may feature numerous intentionally over-the-top fantasy segments, but never are they annoying nor do they induce bad laughs. That director Mark Levin worked on the similar "The Wonder Years" no doubt helps greatly. As directed by him "Little Manhattan" is a powerful motion picture that one cannot help but fall in love with.

"Little Manhattan" doesn't shy away from difficult answers and embraces harsh reality in a way that only helps the viewer to enjoy it more. All too often, family targeted romantic comedies -- and even adult-targeted genre pics -- talk down to audiences and offer up cheap, feel good endings that succeed only in showing disdain for the audience. "Little Manhattan" is not one of those pictures. Honest and heartbreaking but never bleak as a result, this movie does close with a sentiment that should leave a smile on the viewer's face. That the movie promises that things can someday work out, even if they don't when you originally want them to, is slightly naive but never offputting. As is, it is the right note on which to end the movie.

If there is any justice, more people will buy the DVD release of "Little Manhattan" than went to see it in the cinema. The fact is, the cinema release and lack of promotion that this movie was afforded is disgraceful. This is one of the smartest, most beautiful famil releases of the past few years and deserves a wider audience. One can only hope that word-of-mouth brings this gem more success.
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on 21 January 2008
When i first told my mom about this film in the summer of 2006, i was totally adament that once it was out in the UK i would get it. Since then i had forgotten all about it! And if i hadn't gone into our local video store a few days ago, i still wouldn't have remembered it; But boy, am i glad i found it.
I watched it and found it completley wonderful!
It was so well done and very observed about love!
when Gabe starts a karate lesson he becomes friends with Rosemary Telesco, who hes known since kindergarten. They get on famously, and Gabe completley falls for her. But she is going to camp in a week for 6 weeks, and Gabe feels like his heart has been ripped out. It shows him getting jealous, cranky, and feeling very insecure, and experiences the true feeling of love.
This Movie has a great storyline, and the music is beautiful.
Its very well cast and i can't stop watching it! A must for everybody! =D
And the tagline is also very true: Nothings as big as your first love!
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on 4 September 2013
I bought this dvd as the story sounded interesting boy and girl meet [ again ] ,
at karate class boy likes girl they spend time together ,
very nice story to spend time with on a quiet afternoon ,
arrived as new seller recommended thanks .
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 July 2013
I absolutely LOVED this very atypical but extremely beautiful romantic comedy. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Gabe Burton (Josh Hutcherson) is almost eleven and lives in Manhattan with his soon-to-be-divorced parents. He always thought that his life, albeit far from perfect, was not so bad after all - but then, very recently, he met an old acquaintance of his, Rosemary Telesco (Charlie Ray) a girl couple of months older than him, whom he lost from sight since they were together in the kindergarten. And at that moment, his life all of a sudden became much, much more interesting, complicated and painful - because he fell victim to this wonderfully cruel life event, which has for name THE FIRST LOVE...

I will not say anything more here about the plot - let's just say that the scenario is brilliant, very intelligent and without one weakness. Telling a story about love between two 11-years old children, a love driven entirely and exclusively by beating of two hearts, without hormones and pheromones having yet anything to say, is a very delicate, even perilous exercice - but the scenario accomplishes its routine at a 10-note level from all the judges and avoids all the snares and booby traps (pun very much intentional...). Be however aware, that it is a bittersweet treat - because the first love is usually a very pure, beautiful, delicious but also a most cruel thing...

This film, although some adults obviously appear in it too, is carried almost totally by the two child actors.

Charlie Ray (whose real name is Charlotte Ray Rosenberg) was at that time 13 and she did a great job, in what was her first - and as it turned also the last, at least as of July 2013 - appearance on the silver screen. An important detail here - as many girls at ages 10-13, she is actually taller than boys of her age... And that certainly makes her even more intimidating for the boy whose heart she, unwillingly and unknowingly, stole for ever...

Josh Hutcherson, who was also 13 years old, is simply AMAZING, but this could be expected, as he was already at this time a more experienced child actor, with six films behind him (including "Polar Express") and with the contract to star in "Zathura" already signed. As we all know he would later impress in the amazing "Bridge to Terabithia", before making it into real stardom in "Hunger Games" franchise. But still, I believe that his part in "Little Manhattan" was possibly the HARDEST and the most succesfully performed of them all - and once you see this film, I think you will agree with me.

So bottom line, this is an excellent, WONDERFUL film, which I absolutely LOVED. Recommended to absolutely everybody - you will laugh, you will cry and you will certainly one day see it another time. Enjoy!
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on 11 May 2012
10 year old Manhattan resident Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) finds his first love when he meets his former kindergarten mate, the eleven year old Rosemary (Charlie Ray), in his karate classes. Confused with his new feelings and with the divorce process of his beloved parents, Leslie (Cynthia Nixon) and Adam (Bradley Whitford), he experiences the delightful unknown sensation of being in love for the first time. We see this story through his eyes
`Little Manhattan' is one of these films that could easily pass you by because it's not a film that's attracted a lot of attention. It is simply told, the setting seems superb and what might have seemed a strange kind of story has an unexpected and cheerful resolution. It is a delightful film in every way and the acting, dialogue and storytelling is a thing to treasure. It's also a wonderful family oriented film, which is a rarity in these times.
If you watch this, you will have moments of delight and have scenes that you will talk about and love sharing with others. You will not be disappointed by this film. The child actors set the tone just right and the whole way the film is presented is perfect.
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on 20 April 2013
This is a heartwarming family film with a message at its heart. It tell the story of a young boy's first experience of love at the time his parents are in the process of the splitting up. Gabe and Rosemary are from opposites sides of town and meet at karate lessons. As they are only 11 their blossoming relationship is very innocent and sweet to watch. As Gabe's parents realise their little boy is growing up, conversations that father and son have make them both face some difficult realities. The child actors are great, Josh Hutcherson especially, who has gone on to star in other films including The Hunger Games.

Highly recommended, this is great for family viewing and will warm your heart.
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on 22 July 2012
I won't pull any punches here. Normally I don't do rom-coms, especially American ones. That is why it is so surprising I find myself awarding the full five stars. So next time a friend asks you to watch a movie you wouldn't normally pick, just go ahead and watch it! You might learn something. For me, the mark of a great movie is taking a schmaltzy topic such as first love, putting the plot through the eyes of a boy who loves nothing more than kicking a ball as hard and as far as he can to please his dad, and then making that boy fall in love. It's a crazy idea. For a film maker it's one hell of a risk, and it's either going to fall flat on its face - oh and there's plenty of that too, but I digress - or it works, as it does here.

I can't express what I really learnt from this movie because it will spoil it for those who have yet to see it, and you have to travel through the journey of this movie to learn your own ending. It would be cheating anyway if I told you the answer.

So what makes this underrated movie such a winner? If I knew, I'd be up there collecting an award. All I can do is try to guess at this. Perhaps it's because it doesn't try too hard to be a great movie. It's cool also to see a boy express his emotions. Part of me thinks that the script is too mature for a boy of ten. Another part of me justifies his depth of feeling as an indirect result of the marital problems his parents are experiencing. I think there is a tendency for children in these situations to have to mature very quickly, as they have to become self-reliant while their parents are chucking the metaphorical toys out of the pram at each other.

I wonder if they could make a sequel. There again, maybe the whole message is contained within what has already been filmed, and whilst its audience had no choice in how the movie panned out, they do have a choice as to how they might imagine the fate of these two puppy lovers.
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on 6 March 2012
when i saw this on FILM4, i fell in love with Gabe and Rosemary. Gabe can really get you inspired and fall in love. he will lay out all the truth in being in-love. i will never forget when he said

"...there will be plenty of girls out there.
but i will never have a first love again.
that one is always gonna be her..."

this is true. although i have yet to experience about first love, i am certainly looking forward to the prospect and the feeling.

this movie will truly capture you!!
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on 22 July 2010
I think this movie is fantastic and very sweet. The lead actor in the film throughout is a child, josh hutcherson, playing Gabe and he portrays the emotions and feelings very very well.

You see him find girls disgusting and the usual things associated as they grow up and then when he goes to karate class he sees the girl of his dreams, who he hasn't actually seen since kindergarten.

Throughout this he battle with the way he feels, confused for suddenly liking girls, embarrased as he doesn't know what to say, jealous when she gets a new karate partner and also upset and angry when they fall out as she leaves for a different path in her life and he is also trying to live with seperated parents who live in the same house while his mother is going out on dates.

I would recommend this film as it is really sweet and portrays young 'love' very well and the two youngs stars are amazing for young actors.
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on 12 November 2013
Little Manhattan:/ Great film for the children and Adults alike. Two children travel to a another city on they own. Great gift for the kids. Arrived on time. A great dvd.
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