90 Min | Comedy – Family – Romance | July 2006
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Director: Mark Levin
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Charlie Ray, Bradley Whitford
Little Manhattan Review: In a world of romantic comedies that with each passing year exponentially dumb down their stories, feature increasingly mediocre acting, and finish with cheesy, predictable endings, it’s simply poetic justice that a low-budget movie starring two pre-teens out-shines, and shows up some of Hollywoods’ highest paid performers. As for this story, it begins with Gabe and Rosemary as friends from kindergarten until the pandemic of cooties separates them until the 5th grade when Rosemary and Gabe are paired as sparring partners at karate class. Soon, their play dates “practicing” leads Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) head over heels for the adorable Rosemary (Charlie Ray) amidst a divorce between Gabe’s parents.
Little Manhattan’s success rides completely on the shoulders of Hutcherson and Ray, who come through with superb performances, and are helped by an very well written script. Little Manhattan has the ability to bring the audience to fits of joy, laughter, heartbreak, and tears much like the characters on screen do. This movie was like looking through a time capsule of myself as 10/11. Listening to Gabe’s inner monologue seemed to be as if listening to myself word for word, and at times, Gabe can deliver some surprisingly wise commentary, preaching about the truth about love and it’s trials and tribulations. If anything, many of the scenes in L.M. are genius and bring a great deal of magic onto the screen. My favorite scene, and one that brought a 16 year old boy such as myself to tears, was a little over halfway in. Gabe is invited by Rosemary to a jazz concert in NY.
As the music begins to play, Gabe is yelling at himself to do or not to hold Rosemary’s hand. When he does it lasts for about a second and Rosemary quickly pulls away, causing Gabe and the audience to panic momentarily. From Gabe’s POV, we see Rosemary wipe the sweat from her hand on her blouse and this time, she reaches out and slowly grabs Gabe’s hand. They then look at each other and smile, and the camera cuts away to a shot of them hand-to-hand, next to each other, and they are at least for now, in love. There isn’t a specific gender or age group that would or would not appreciate Little Manhattan, instead Little Manhattan will hit close to home for anyone who’s ever felt the joy and pain of being in love.