It’s important to understand the nature of Allen’s character in Manhattan. If Isaac Davis is not a conservative, he is at least a classical liberal who has serious problems with the cultural revolution of the Sixties. His ex-wife, played by Meryl Streep, is a lesbian who has written a book about their marriage. They have a child together, a boy named Willie, and Isaac is intent on making sure that Willie is heterosexual. He takes Willie to play basketball, interrogates his ex-wife about what clothes he is wearing, and has overt hostility to Streep’s new girlfriend. (“Most people don’t survive one mother, much less two,” says Isaac). Isaac criticizes his young girlfriend Tracy for being raised in the Sixties. “You were brought up on drugs and television and the pill.” He then adds that he believes “people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics.” Then, disgusted with the drug-taking hippies who produce his show, Isaac quits. This is not a member of the Weather Underground.
Although I question this:
Keaton’s Mary Wilkie arrives as an intellectual equal to challenge Allen’s assumptions.
I always took her character to be a poseur, just dropping high brow names, trying to fit in because she’s “from Philadelphia.”
Or maybe Keaton wasn’t a good enough actress to convincingly portray Wilkie as Allen’s character’s “intellectual equal”?