I've been in love for two and a half weeks and it's a pain I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies.”
It is when you hear a 10-year-old boy say this within the first two minutes of the film while weeping uncontrollably and you can’t but smile looking at his innocence, that you know that this film is going to be an hour and a half of pure joy!
I for one enjoy watching films about Nostalgia! Films that take you back to a younger and more simple life. Especially the ones that revolve around the characters’ story. While this kind of films help relive your memories from the past, Little Manhattan is a little different in the sense that it makes you live that moment. The moment of the feeling of first love.
“ I love you move than anyone has ever loved. Do you think you want to uhm love me too?”
The film is a story about a boy who meets a girl and falls in love with her. Literally, coz the lead characters are no more than 10 and 11 years of age respectively. Gabe who lives in his own little world of boys, basketball, and exploring Manhattan in his scooter, falls in love with Rosemary, his childhood friend. Although both of them have always been in the same class, Gabe only starts to notice her as a young beautiful “creature”, when he happens to join her Karate class. The rest of the story is Gabe’s perspective on his feelings towards Rosemary and his experience of falling in love for the first time.
“Suddenly, I knew what I had to do. Love isn't about ridiculous little words. Love is about grand gestures. Love is about airplanes pulling banners over stadiums, proposals on jumbotrons, giant words in skywriting. Love is about going that extra mile even if it hurts, letting it all hang out there. Love is about finding courage inside of you that you didn't even know was there.”
Now the thing about this movie is that it would have made as much sense if the lead characters were adults. This is because it is the emotion that they have beautifully addressed in the story. So I a 21-year-old who has never fallen in love, can sit on my couch experiencing what my first love would feel like through Gabe’s eyes while watching this film. But what elevates this emotion is the fact that they are kids. So while the feelings are very mature, you’ll suddenly hear Gabe crying out loud or telling out a stupid catchphrase to express his anger, to bring you back into his little world.
The film is made to look and feel very childlike so that everybody watching the film is transported to the pre-teen world of Gabe and Rosemary. The dreamy, colorful mood gets you thinking about how simple life was as kids. You are made to feel their emotion. To feel their pain, excitement, love and yet laugh while they cry innocently over their stupidity, leaving you more hopeful about the simple things.
“But it wasn't that easy. I guess love never is.”
But that’s not it! Little Manhatten is also about a lot of other things that goes on to show us how Love as an emotion is perceived differently by different people. The story is based out of NewYork which is considered to be the city of Dreams and Love thus making it all the more romantic. The film enjoys a variety of characters like Gabe’s parents, Rosemary’s parents, the Nanny, a Doorman, Rosemary’s sister and her Aunt, all of who play a crucial part in shaping Gabe’s idea of what love means. You have Gabe living with his parents who are on the verge of getting a divorce whereas Rosemary’s parents are an ideal power couple who love each other immensely. But much to our surprise, it is Gabe who is more confident about his belief in Love than Rosemary.
“The truth is, there's gonna be other girls out there. I mean, I hope. But I'm never gonna get another first love. That one is always gonna be her.”
Little Manhattan leaves you more hopeful about an emotion that a lot of us still feel very distant towards. It tells us that it’s not always about the happy endings but about every little thing that makes that journey. Somewhere as Gabe grows up reminiscing the memories of his first love filled with heroic gestures, perfect first dates, a romantic adventure around his favorite city and so on, you can’t help but grow younger to believe in the little joys of life.