“Manhattan”

“People really don’t love you, do they?” asks Michael.

“No.” says Lacey.

“You’ll be so shocked when you die. If you don’t go to Hell and I exist and am waiting for you… You’ll be shocked.” he says with a smile.

“I’m fully expecting I might go to Hell. Not because I want to reject God. Or even am in my heart. I love God. I just can’t believe I’m not damned for eternity somehow.” Lacey says.

“Possibly for having such beautiful breasts and neck and daring to not only appear in a burka in public.” says Michael. “You know, there might be young women who are profoundly threatened by you on an egotistical level and then malignantly translate that into some evil on your part because they’re heartless and evil in their true intent.” Michael says.

“Why couldn’t I just have been born so much earlier if I’m Tom’s daughter?” Lacey sighs exasperated.

Silence.

“Wouldn’t I have been able to dress more womanly than this even and still have been seen as innocent?” she asks.

“Yes!” Michael smiles.

“Because they wore sexy clothes back then. They just weren’t skin tight or tiny or transparent. They did look sexual. The same way I look sexual. I don’t show cleavage. I don’t show my butt. Or much of anything.” Lacey fumes.

“But you have small breasts. And you’d think that’d be less dangerous but…that’s not how it really works.” Michael says.

“Why do men lie about that?” asks Lacey.

“They mostly don’t know what they like. They know what they’re told to like.” says Michael.

“What are they told to like?”

“Big. Just big. Bigger. The way they’re shaped or presented or the woman herself who has them isn’t discussed nearly as much. It’s just about how big they are.” He smiles. “So a woman with small breasts who wears a t-shirt like you and it falls just so…can be more lurid than a woman wearing a tight sweater with large breasts. Because it’s not actually about size. Almost at all. …But women don’t know that. So they show off their large busts thinking they’ve got an edge over other women when in reality…they might be being repulsive. Because it’s an offensive shape. It looks rude, presumptuous and therefore abrasive. As if I’m going to fall at her feet. …But that’s simply not the case.” He sighs. “Now, if she’d have displayed it thoughtfully and humbly it might be arousing. …But I still like you best.” He smiles. “Well, more than that.”

“Every woman has something beautiful about her though.” says Lacey.

“Sometimes it’s their heart.” says Lem.

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“I like being overwhelmed, I guess.” says Michael.

—— A full review of “Manhattan” later.

“Manhattan” is gruesome to review. It’s one of those rare works of art that are so brilliant and sharp they defy culture.

Now…don’t get me wrong, it’s filled with examples of living that are wrong. It’s not a film you’re supposed to watch and imitate.

What it is instead is an honest, transcendentally beautiful and insightful piece of cinematic history.

…And while I was born in 1983 New York of 1979 doesn’t feel too distant from the late 1980’s and early 90’s of my childhood. …And those times really were different. And yes, unfortunately, those times really were better. Sure there were serious problems but everything felt calmer, more ordered and more sturdy. You could feel the depths of the nation firmly imbedded in the cultural terrain. You could feel social capital in the bank. It felt safe.

We’re not there now.