Little Manhattan

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Little Manhattan Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Refreshingly realistic tween tale of first love.
  • PG
  • 2005
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 27 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Gabe's friend talks about shoplifting candy. Gabe and Rosemary lie to their parents and leave their neighborhood on the subway alone. There's a lot of dangerous speeding across the street on Gabe's scooter. But the overall message is to follow your feelings and be honest about them.


A lot of karate-related kicking, punching, and tripping. Gabe falls off his scooter but isn't hurt. A bully throws a ball hard during dodgeball and hurts some kids, but not seriously. Rosemary and Adam beat up the bully using karate. Gabe breaks his hand trying to break a board in karate.


Young Adam and Leslie kiss, and again later, the adult versions of them kiss. Gabe and Rosemary sit on a subway train where a couple is making out next to them. Gabe kisses Rosemary once on the lips, and replays it in his head many times. The pair wrestles a little on the floor.


Two uses of the word "hell."


Two references to Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

During a night out on the town, Gabe and Rosemary drink Shirley Temples while Rosemary's parents drink wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie about tween romance shows a little kissing and some wrestling around on the floor. The kids disobey their parents, leave their neighborhood, and take the subway alone. There's some mild peril when they encounter bullies. Gabe deals with his parents getting a divorce. He also speeds across the street on his scooter without looking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byErica Rios March 9, 2009

Sweet boy learning about love

It was nice to watch a movie that reminds me that little boys, like girls, come from a place of innocence and that learning about love is a fun, exciting and so... Continue reading
Adult Written bymoviemadness April 9, 2008

One of the best romances of all time!

This is one of the sweetest, most honest, and wonderful family movies of all time! It is absolutely amazing and a must see for 8-10+
Kid, 11 years old January 20, 2014

Gives info about love without being too risque or raunchy. Like Rob Reiner Films,but cleaner.

A young boy deals with love issues such as being in love with a girl for the first time and his parents getting a divorce. Clean, good,fun. Mild language, most... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 5, 2012

Pretty good

I think this movie was pretty good. It was really cute because it was about kids in love.

What's the story?

Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) is 11 3/4 and living in a weird world. His mother and father (Cynthia Nixon and Bradley Whitford) are separated and getting a divorce but still live together. When Gabe starts karate, Rosemary (Charlie Ray) captures his imagination. He's known her since kindergarten, but now, as his sparring partner, Rosemary's strength and beauty enchant Gabe, and he grapples with how he's suddenly changing.

Is it any good?

Teens are often shown images of romance that are either unrealistically sweet or unbelievably raunchy; between the two sits the charming LITTLE MANHATTAN. It's a revelation of a small film that's essentially When Harry Met Sally for the tween set. In fact, it's a little creepy how alike the movies are. In one scene where Rosemary and Gabe are at a birthday party that Rosemary's toddler sister is attending, Rosemary somewhat snootily says, "See, she's using her hands and talking, and he's drooling over a cupcake." The girl toddler, it turns out, is three months younger than the boy.

Anyone who's ever had a crush is likely to relate to Gabe. He feels the need to ride his scooter past her house constantly. His hands sweat. His heart pounds. "You're weak and pathetic and you're going to be alone for your entire life," he berates himself when he finally sees Rosemary on one of his stakeouts. Finally, viewers eventually get to the scene where Gabe races to find Rosemary and profess his love for her. But the refreshing difference here is that the true love story is saved for the adults -- mercifully, Little Manhattan doesn't force its child stars to grow up too fast.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ideas of love that movies, including this one, give viewers. Is love really the way the movie describes? Do you have to suffer to be in love? Do you believe Gabe when he says that love is about "grand gestures" instead of small things? Is that true in Gabe's parents' relationship? What other messages about love does this film give you? Do you think they're accurate?

Movie details

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