Manhattan Romance full movie review - Documenting the course of love
'Manhattan Romance' begins with film-maker Danny embarking on a documentary about relationships, which requires him to interview various acquaintances and strangers about their love lives.
One of them is a manipulative neo-hippie tease called Theresa, who allows him to give her topless massages while she talks about her open relationship life-style. Her flirting has Danny anticipating detours into amorous activity, but she keeps putting him off with vague excuses. In between these frustrating encounters, he visits his friend Carla and films her discussing her lesbian romance. When he complains to Carla about his unrequited desires for Theresa, she offers only muted sympathy and amused eye-rolls in response.
The film is Tom O'Brien's second feature as writer/producer/director/actor, and his contributions give the excellent cast plenty of material and space to create intriguing characters. The story takes some interesting twists and turns as Danny zigzags back and forth between his project and real life relationships. The boundary between these two zones becomes blurred, leaving Danny increasingly confused about his ability to connect with other people, until the narrative eventually unfolds to a satisfying conclusion. When all is said and done, 'Manhattan Romance' delivers some sophisticated entertainment which is both poignant and playful.