Story

Little Manhattan is narrated by Gabe (Josh Hutcherson), a boy of 10¾ years who has hated girls all his life. One day he joins a karate class. He is teamed up with Rosemary Telesco (Charlie Ray), a girl he has known since kindergarten, but whom he now sees in a completely new light. Gabe begins to feel the pressure of ‘first love’ and experiences the roller coaster of emotions and self-doubt. To complicate Gabe’s life further, his parents Adam (Bradley Whitford) and Leslie (Cynthia Nixon) are getting a divorce. Neither parent wants to move out of the apartment, because they both want to be with Gabe. This means Gabe has to cope with his mother going out with other men. Rosemary’s family is quite rich, and she will soon be leaving for summer camp and then on to private school. Gabe therefore doesn’t have much time to tell Rosemary how he feels.

Themes

Family breakdown

Violence

In one scene, a large older boy, a known bully, throws a football at some younger children, knocking them out. He then picks on Gabe and Rosemary for being in his territory. Rosemary attacks him using karate and knocks him down. The boy later recovers and chases after the others on his bike.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Apart from the bullying incident described above, there is nothing particularly scary in this movie.

Over 8

There is nothing in this movie that would scare children over eight years of age. 

Sexual references

None

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Product placement

The product Pepsi is displayed in this movie.

Coarse language 

This movie contains infrequent very mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Although some of the scenery shot around Manhattan is visually appealing, the romantic story of Little Manhattan is not particularly interesting for young children. The story is about first love and the lasting impression it makes. It doesn’t have a strong message, but it does touch on pre-adolescent issues such as growing feelings for someone of the opposite sex and having the courage to communicate those feelings. You could talk to your child about these issues as well as some other secondary issues such as using karate as a means of self-defence and the impact of parents separating.