(uncredited) Release dateSeptember 30, 2005 (2005-09-30) DirectorsMark Levin, Jennifer Flackett CastJosh Hutcherson (Gabe), Charlie Ray (Rosemary), Bradley Whitford (Adam), Cynthia Nixon (Leslie), Willie Garson (Ralph), J. Kyle Manzay (Master Coles) Similar moviesLymelife, The Good Girl, Jamon Jamon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, The Time Traveler's Wife
TaglineNothing's as big as your first love.
Little manhattan official trailer
Little Manhattan is a 2005 American romantic comedy film directed and written by husband and wife Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. 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. 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.
10-year-old Gabe meets an 11-year-old girl in his grade, Rosemary, who he's known since kindergarten. But after being partnered with her for sparring in self-defense class, he suddenly notices her as a girl, not another face. To Gabe's elation, they begin spending time together and he is completely enamored with not only her, but her life. He takes her on a tour through Central Park, and another day they venture for fun across the city and use their self-defense skills to fight a bully named Daryl Kitzens and try to inspect an apartment for rent, worrying his nervous parents. He discovers that Rosemary is soon leaving for camp for six weeks and won't be back until summer's end and her parents are planning to enroll her in a private school. She lives with her loving upper-class parents, and on the edge of Central Park. Rosemary's parents take him and Rosemary to hear a jazz pianist at The Carlyle, where the young twosome finally hold hands. After the show, Rosemary's parents tell them to say goodnight and her parents go to get milk. After the parents leave, Gabe and Rosemary begin talking, and he interrupts her by kissing her. His daily exploits are followed and encouraged by the friendly concierge at his building.
Rosemary's family's life is in contrast to Gabe's; he lives with his soon-to-be-divorcing parents, who have declared an awkward truce while waiting for their divorce to be finalized. As their relationship progresses, Gabe begins to question what is happening to him and why he is falling in love with Rosemary. When things seem to be going perfectly, Gabe's world is suddenly turned upside down when he and Rosemary are assigned new sparring partners. Gabe is instantly jealous of Rosemary's new partner: a taller blonde boy named Tim Staples, who's much better at self-defense than he is. With their remaining time running out, Gabe tries to move closer to Rosemary, but only drives her away. In a desperate move to win Rosemary back, Gabe attempts to show off for Rosemary to get his yellow belt, but painfully fractures his hand in the process.
Being crushed with what love really is, he learns from his father that the parents' marriage fell apart because of things left unsaid. Realizing he is out of time, Gabe goes to find Rosemary. He interrupts her during the wedding reception she is attending and declares his love. Taken aback, Rosemary replies she doesn't think she is ready for love, but is really happy to see Gabe. She asks for a dance and Gabe agrees. As they dance, Gabe muses that he and Rosemary were on different paths — "like two ships that passed in Sheep Meadow". He returns home to find his parents laughing over their honeymoon recollections. Gabe is pleased and surprised when his father says he "cleared out some old stuff" and his parents appear to have reconciled. They happily go out for dinner, and as the movie ends, Gabe, narrating, summarizes what Rosemary meant to him: "...I'm never gonna get another first love. That one's always gonna be her."
Josh Hutcherson as Gabriel "Gabe" Burton, The main protagonist who's in love with Rosemary Telesco
Charlie Ray as Rosemary Telesco, Gabe's love interest
Bradley Whitford and Cynthia Nixon as Adam Burton and Leslie Burton, Gabe's parents
Willie Garson as Ralph, the elevator man who's nice to Gabe
Tonye Patano as Birdie, Rosemary's nanny
Josh Pais as Ronny Leslie's new date
John Dossett and Talia Balsam as Mickey and Jackie Telesco, Rosemary's parents
Jonah Meyerson as Sam
Connor Hutcherson (Josh Hutcherson's younger brother) as the boy who throws up
Anthony Laflamme as Tim Staples, Rosemary's new karate partner and Gabe's rival
Mike Chat as Himself, Gabe's karate hero.
Nick Cubbler as Daryl Kitzens, the bully who is beat by Gabe and Rosemary
Neil Jay Shastri as David Betanahu, Gabe's new karate partner
Little Manhattan received mostly positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 77% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with 23 positive reviews out of 30. 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". Kevin Thomas, writing for the Los Angeles Times, called the film "a handsome charmer about the avalanche of first love...an 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". 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.
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.