Little Manhattan

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Little Manhattan
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Levin
Jennifer Flackett
Produced by Gavin Polone
Arnon Milchan
Written by Mark Levin
Jennifer Flackett
Starring Josh Hutcherson
Charlie Ray
Bradley Whitford
Cynthia Nixon
Music by Chad Fischer
Cinematography Tim Orr
Edited by Alan Edward Bell
Regency Enterprises
Pariah Films
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • September 30, 2005 (2005-09-30)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,117,920

Little Manhattan is a 2005 American romantic comedy film directed and written by husband and wife Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett.[1] Though Levin is credited as the director and Flackett as the writer, in the film's DVD commentary the two reveal that they collaborated on both tasks. Little Manhattan depicts the story of ten-year-old Gabe's realization that girls can be pretty and nice to be with. The story takes place, and was filmed on location, in Manhattan, mostly in the Upper West Side. The film stars Josh Hutcherson and Charlie Ray in the leading roles of the two children.[2] It was Ray's first film role having never previously attended an audition. The character of Rosemary at the kindergarten stage, seen in a flashback, was played by the writer-director team's real-life daughter.


16-year-old Rosemary meets a boy in her grade, Gabe Burton, whom she's known since the fourth grade. But after being partnered with him for sparring in self-defense class, she suddenly notices him as a boy, not another face. To Rosemary's elation, they begin spending time together and she is completely enamored with not only him, but his life. She takes him on a tour through Central Park, and another day they venture for fun across the city to use their self-defense skills to fight a bully named Daryl Kitzens and try to inspect an apartment for rent, worrying her nervous parents. She discovers that Gabe is soon leaving for camp for six weeks and won't be back until summer's end and his parents are planning to enroll him in a private school. He lives with his loving upper-class parents, and on the edge of Central Park. Gabe's parents take him and Rosemary to hear a jazz pianist at The Carlyle, where the young twosome finally hold hands. After the show, Gabe's parents tell them to say goodnight and his parents go to get milk. After the parents leave, Gabe starts talking to Rosemary, which she interrupts by kissing him. Her daily exploits are followed and encouraged by the friendly concierge at her building.

The Burtons' life is in contrast to Rosemary's; she lives with her soon-to-be-divorcing parents, who have declared an awkward truce while waiting for their divorce to be finalized. As their relationship progresses, Rosemary begins to question what is happening to her and why she is falling in love with Gabe. When things seem to be going perfectly, Rosemary's world is suddenly turned upside down when she and Gabe are assigned new sparring partners. Rosemary is instantly jealous of Gabe's new partner: a beautiful blonde girl named Samantha Staples, who's much better at self-defense than she is, and she is with a new partner, who is Denise Betanahu. With their remaining time running out, Rosemary tries to move closer to Gabe, but only drives him away. In a desperate move to win Gabe back, Rosemary attempts to show off for Gabe, but painfully fractures her hand in the process.

Being crushed with what love really is, she learns from her mother that the parents' marriage fell apart because of things left unsaid. Realizing she is out of time, Rosemary goes to find Gabe. She interrupts him during the wedding reception he is attending and declares her love. Taken aback, Gabe replies he doesn't think he is ready for love, but is really happy to see Rosemary. He asks for a dance and Rosemary agrees. As they dance, Rosemary muses that she and Gabe were on different paths — "like two ships that passed in Sheep Meadow". She returns home to find her parents laughing over their honeymoon recollections. Rosemary is pleased and surprised when her mother says she "cleared out some old stuff" and her parents appear to have reconciled. They happily go out for dinner, and as the movie ends, Rosemary, narrating, summarizes what Gabe meant to her: "...I'm never gonna get another first love. That one is always gonna be him."



Critical response[edit]

Little Manhattan received mostly positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 76% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with 20 positive reviews out of 27.[3] BBC's Stella Papamichael wrote that the film was "sweet but not syrupy and heart-warming without being manipulative, this kid flick stands tall among recent Hollywood love stories".[4] Kevin Thomas, writing for the Los Angeles Times, called the film "a handsome charmer about the avalanche of first endearing, affectionately humorous and even lyrical depiction of the dawning of adolescence amid the privileged". However he called the script "problematic...[Gabe's] speech as soundtrack narrator of his own story is precociously improbable".[5] Jeffrey Lyons of NBC-TV called Little Manhattan "one of the sweetest, most touching films you'll see". Variety‍ '​s Brian Lowry was less positive about the film. He wrote "Resting almost entirely on the shoulders of its young leads, both they and the pic lack the sparkle to sustain what seeks to be a whimsical premise but, except for a few moments, proves ponderous instead.". He also believed the film belonged on "youth-targeting basic-cable networks" instead of having a cinematic release.[6]

Box office[edit]

The film made $36,397 in the opening weekend in the United States. By December 18, 2005 the film had grossed $385,373. It had worldwide box office takings of $1,117,920.


The film's score was composed by Chad Fischer, the guitarist and lead singer of Lazlo Bane. The film featured 18 other songs, half of which are covers, by a variety of musicians, from the well-known The Beatles and Elvis Presley to little-known The Meadows and Loston Harris. The soundtrack for the film hasn't been released, but several songs are available on other releases.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Artist(s) Length
1. "Only the Strong Survive[A]"   Jerry Butler Elvis Presley 2:42
2. "Birdland"   Ron Aspery Ron Aspery  
3. "When The Saints Go Marching In[C]"   Traditional The All Star Marching Band  
4. "Kung Fu Fighting (Adrian Sherwood On-U-Remix)[A]"   Carl Douglas Carl Douglas 4:41
5. "Sleepless In Brooklyn"   Chad Fischer, Timothy Bright and Chris Link Lazlo Bane  
6. "Younger Yesterday[A]"   Todd Herfindal and Kevin Houlihan The Meadows 3:15
7. "New Fast[A]"   Jeff Gramm Aden 2:27
8. "Miserable Life"   Chad Fischer and Lyle Workman Chad Fischer and Lyle Workman  
9. "Burning Flame[C]"   Richard Friedman Richard Friedman  
10. "Teach Me Tonight[C]"   Sammy Cahn and Gene de Paul Loston Harris  
11. "Map Of My Heart[B]"   Chad Fischer Chad Fischer 3:24
12. "Lonely Road[A]"   Erik Schrody Everlast 3:18
13. "Polly Wolly Doodle[C]"   Traditional Susannah Blinkoff  
14. "The Very Thought Of You[A]"   Ray Noble Nat 'King' Cole 3:48
15. "Love[A]"   Matt White and Paul Umbach Matt White 2:50
16. "At Last[A]"   Mack Gordon and Harry Warren Etta James 3:02
17. "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)[C]"   Barry Mason and Tony Macaulay Freedy Johnston  
18. "In My Life[C]"   John Lennon and Paul McCartney Matt Scannell  
  • A ^ Available on other releases
  • B ^ Available to listen on Chad Fischer's Myspace page[7]
  • C ^ Available by original and/or other musicians


  1. ^ "Little Manhattan > Production Credits". allmovie. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Little Manhattan > Cast". allmovie. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Little Mahattan Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ Papamichael, Stella (June 5, 2006). "BBC Movies review – Little Manhattan". BBC Entertainment. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Kevin (December 2, 2005). "'First Descent', '39 Pounds', 'Little Manhattan'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ Lowry, Brian (September 29, 2005). "Little Manhattan Review". Variety. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ Chad Fischer, on Myspace

External links[edit]