tek's rating:

Little Manhattan (PG)
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Well. I do a lot of browsing in stores that sell used DVDs, and there's always plenty of things I want to get, though it isn't often that I do get anything, because... it isn't often that I have much money. Still, there's plenty of stuff I didn't manage to see in theaters but wanted to, as well as things I never heard of before seeing the DVD in such places. And so, those things enter my consciousness, as something I might like to pick up, eventually. This was one of those things, but as it happens, before I ever got the DVD, I saw it listed on TV one day, so I set a recording and watched it after work. I don't know that I'll ever get the DVD, but it was nice to see it, finally. And if I had gotten it on DVD, I don't know that I'd want to resell it, or anything.

Anyway, I liked it. It's about these two kids. Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) is 10 and three quarters, and Rosemary is 11. At the outset, we learn that Gabe (who narrates the movie) is heartbroken over her. We also see that his hand is in a cast. To learn how the story arrived at this point, well... Gabe tells us the story. (I was almost tempted to call this a period movie, though in fact it isn't at all. It has a simple feel to it, an almost old-fashioned feel, perhaps because the narration gives it a sort of Wonder Years quality, but there are any number of ways to tell it's set in the present.)

Anyway, Gabe has known Rosemary since kindergarten, at which point they were friends, but he hasn't really associated with her since then, as ever since the first grade, there's been a strict, self-imposed division between boys and girls. Well, hmmm. I should mention that Gabe's parents have been going through a divorce, which is taking a long time. In the meanwhile, they are forced to continue living together, though his mom (Cynthia Nixon) has begun dating someone else. Anyway... his dad (Bradley Whitford) has plans for Gabe to become a football player. One day, Gabe asks if he can join a karate class, which his father figures might help the football plan, ultimately. Though Gabe is mainly worried about a certain bully.

As it turns out, Rosemary also takes the karate class (and she's better at it than Gabe; in fact, she's about the best in the class). They become sparring partners, and... he falls in love with her. Or, you know, what passes for love, with kids that age. Anyway, they start hanging out, to practice karate together, and a friendship develops, though we know all along how Gabe feels about her. We don't know how she feels about him, which I suppose puts us in the same place as Gabe.

And there's not much else to say. We see them hanging out. We hear his voiceovers. We feel his nervousness. We wonder how things will turn out. Eventually the story catches up to where it started, and it goes on from there, a little ways. What sort of relationship ultimately develops between the two? I wouldn't spoil that, but... I mean, after all, they're just kids. I will say that Gabe learns from his father's mistakes with his mother, and... in helping Gabe, I suppose Dad learns from his own mistakes. Or whatever. Anyway, it's a fun little movie, if not one I necessarily feel the need to ever watch again....

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