Movie Review: ‘Little Manhattan’ stars Josh Hutcherson and Charlie Ray

Little Manhattan (2005, PG) is a charming romantic comedy sure to amuse and entertain adults and kids of all ages. Gabe Burton (Josh Hutcherson) is an 11-year-old boy living in Manhattan with his parents who are currently filing for a divorce. He is surprised to find out his former kindergarten classmate, Rosemary Telesco (Charlie Ray), is enrolled in the same karate class he’s in.

When Rosemary and Gabe become sparring partners in this karate class, he develops a new friendship with her. Over the next couple of weeks, the two spend time together at his home and in Central Park, enjoying the balmy summer weather while walking around the busy streets of Manhattan. It’s the neighborhood Gabe has grown up in and which is dear to his heart. It isn’t long before Gabe develops romantic feelings for lovely Rosemary.

As Gabe’s and Rosemary’s friendship blossoms, the pending divorce of Gabe’s parents, Adam Burton (Bradley Whitford) and Leslie Burton (Cynthia Nixon) fills their home with tension and gloom. Gabe is left continually wondering when his Dad is going to move out of their apartment for good. Gabe also struggles to understand the confusing feelings awakened by his first love while also processing his grief over the dying love he witnesses between his parents. He is overcome with sadness when he learns that something threatens to separate Rosemary and him. It may change their relationship forever. Viewers will be touched by the tender and realistic resolution that unfolds.

One of the main themes Little Manhattan deals with is love—romantic love, or first love, in particular—and the many different stages people may go through while discovering what true love is all about. Since the story is told from an 11-year-old boy’s point of view, the perspective is fresh and innocent, yet filled with humorous insights that both children and adults can relate to.

Little Manhattan, a delightful family drama, will provide laughter and pique your interest with its storyline full of human-interest complications. The emotions and trials young Gabe grapples with are ones most people experience at one time or another, and they bring a familiar Scripture verse to mind, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV)

Little Manhattan features numerous scenes sure to bring back warm memories from one’s own childhood. The accompanying music is as light and pleasant as the gorgeous summer days that provide the backdrop for Gabe’s and Rosemary’s sweet friendship. Parents are advised there are a few brief instances where crude language is used.

Josh Hutcherson and Charlie Ray, who play the roles of Gabe and Rosemary, both give noteworthy, credible acting performances—especially Charlie Ray, whose lead part in Little Manhattan marks her first movie appearance. Bradley Whitford and Cynthia Nixon offer solid support-role performances as Gabe’s loving, devoted parents who are worn out by their marriage troubles and lengthy divorce proceedings. An amusing cameo is played by Michael Chaturantabut, who skillfully portrays the master karate guru. Children of all ages will enjoy the action-filled karate scenes, the imaginative cinematography, and Gabe’s lively narration interwoven throughout.

Overall, Little Manhattan is a wonderful movie to watch with kids, but with enough engaging themes and stimulating dialogue to keep the interest of adults, too. Happy viewing!


Movie Trailer: “Little Manhattan” stars Josh Hutcherson and Charlie Ray

Comedy/Romance/Family Drama. PG. Appropriate for family viewing. 1h 30 min. Regency Enterprises, directed by Mark Levin. Check your favorite online streaming service, movie rental source, or the public library for availability.

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Portland, Oregon residents can borrow Little Manhattan (2005) on DVD at the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234, or place it on hold with the library online.



Jennifer Anne Fabregas Messing is a Cascade Award Winner (“Published Short Story”), freelance author, poet, and speaker who has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Religious Education. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, she has authored three books and more than 200 articles, short stories, and poems published in 60 magazines, including: The Storyteller, The Gem, LIVE, Evangel, and FellowScript. Originally from the Philippines, Jennifer Anne and her husband have three grown children and reside in Oregon, USA.

Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. Get information about her two award-winning books: Morning's Promise: Poetic Moments in His Presence and Everlasting Love: Romantic Vignettes for a Woman's Heart (print or e-book) from Amazon or Barnes and Noble online.

Copyrighted © by Jennifer Anne Fabregas Messing. All rights reserved. Contact the author for reprint information. Email:

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