Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Charlie Ray, Bradley Whitford
Director: Mark Levin
Running Time: 90 mins
Little Manhattan is an American film about a 10 year-old boy and his first experience of falling in love, after he grows close to a girl with whom he had a strong friendship in kindergarten.
The romantic comedy genre is generally pretty hateful when it comes to teens and adults, but I was delighted to see that it worked so well in a kids’ movie. Little Manhattan may be a little on the cheesy side, but it’s always a heartfelt and uplifting watch, full of joy and wonderful nostalgia at every moment, making it an absolutely delightful watch from start to finish.
Kids’ romantic comedies are rarer than their older counterparts, but they are a lot more likely to work out. One issue, however, that often plagues them is the presence of annoying and precocious child actors, something that I was very on the fence about in the opening stages of this movie.
Frankly, however, my worries about precocious leads is actually a positive, because it quickly emerges that both Josh Hutcherson and Charlie Ray’s performances are excellent. Impressively confident and collected for such young leads, the two are dynamite on screen, and have brilliant chemistry when it comes to showing the development of their relationship.
At times, the leads’ relationship is reminiscent of films like My Girl, where you get a surprising amount of emotional depth and heart throughout the movie. Although the writing does at times give Josh Hutcherson’s character a somewhat overly schmaltzy view of love, leading to the odd extremely cringeworthy moment, Little Manhattan is generally very impressive when it comes to a realistic and engrossing story of young love.
The film’s light-hearted atmosphere is one thing, and guaranteed to make younger viewers have a fun time, but there’s an added bonus for older viewers who can watch this film through thick nostalgia goggles. Picking up on the feelings and adventures that everyone had as a kid, you can really relate to Little Manhattan, reminiscing about your own experiences throughout, something that really helps to make the film all the more enjoyable.
Although the film does have the odd unnecessary side-plot, detracting from the wonderful entertainment of the central characters’ relationship, I was delighted at how consistently enjoyable this movie was throughout. With strong performances from young actors, effective writing and excellent directing, Little Manhattan is a wonderful nostalgic treat for all, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.