Author Alex Andronov profers this example of Cinema Euphoria to make your hearts beat faster and swell with pride at our common humanity, if such a thing is medically advisable (consult your doctor).
And I guess for the first time I have to add a spoiler alert to a piece of C.E. since this is the ending of Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN. If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t click on the box, click on this link. If you don’t like Allen, this one might not change your mind, but at least you’ll be able to say you’ve seen (some of) his best work.
Some don’t like Allen’s constant cultural referencing, which can be regarded as an overt play for easy Knowing Laughs of Recognition from the wannabe-cognoscenti, and I can see the problem. But this scene not only delivers a satisfying conclusion to a rom-com, it provides a list of things that are worth living for. This scene could conceivably save a life.
Confession: seeing this as a kid, I fell in love with Mariel Hemingway. I kind of cringe to admit it, ’cause I must have had much blander, blonder taste then (whereas NOW…), but hey, at least I was closer to her age than Allen. This is the first movie where Allen really chases after (literally, here) a much younger woman/infant, and if it was always a bit uncomfortable to watch, it’s much worse when he does it for real. I suspect some people will never forgive him for marring the memory of this film by marrying his partner’s child.
And yetyetyet, for all the erratic work he’s done since the nineties, and for all the erratic lifestyle choices he’s made (but hey, that marriage is LASTING), somehow when I look at this scene, all is forgotten and I just go with the Gershwin and Gordon Willis’ lambent cinematography nod my head at the idea of Groucho Marx as life-saver (see also, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS).