Movie Review – Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)

Diane Keaton is one of my favorite actresses. It was a great surprise to read that she admits that she still loves Woody Allen to this day even though their much-publicized affair ended many years ago. Click here for the details. She came to prominence in Allen’s screen success Annie Hall and worked together with him in six other films until they reunited to work in Manhattan Murder Mystery in 1993.

The duo work so effortlessly together and play off each other’s lines so well in Manhattan Murder Mystery that it is easy to picture them as an actual married couple.

They are cast as Larry and Carol Lipton, a couple whose only son has left for college, leaving them with time on their hands. They make the acquaintance of the next-door neighbors in their building, Paul and Lillian House, only to learn the next night that Lillian has died of a heart attack. Subsequently, Paul seems unphased by his wife’s death, and lies that she is buried near Nyack where they spend their holidays. While visiting the bereaved husband, Carol uncovers an urn in the cupboard while searching for coffee beans. This starts her on a crusade for truth which Larry hesitates to join. Their friend Ted, a recent widower, (Alan Alda) joins Carol in her quest for truth which rankles Larry who is suspicious of their newfound friendship. Larry introduces Ted to a writer friend, Marcia Fox (Angelica Huston) with the hope that Ted will make a romantic connection with her.

The farce becomes more so when Carol spots Lillian riding a bus which passes by quickly. Ted is only too happy to join her investigation while Larry concludes that Lillian may have a twin.

The plot thickens as Carol enters Paul’s apartment with an office key only to be forced to seek cover under the bed when Paul returns home unexpectedly. Unfortunately, she leaves without her eyeglasses but not before spotting tickets to Paris, one of which is made out to Helen Moss. Marcia Fox enters the picture once again with a plan to unearth the truth of the matter. The subsequent scenes with Helen Moss, an aspiring actress, are beyond belief, reassuring us that only Woody Allen could follow through with a plot such as his character Marcia concocted.

Diane Keaton was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Carol Lipton, an honor which she definitely deserved.

This timeless film has become a classic which the reader must add to his bucket list. No one can deny the brilliance of Woody Allen when he writes and directs the absurd scripts for which he is known.