Manito Movie 2002

“Manito” is a 2002 independent drama film written and directed by Eric Eason. This gritty and authentic film provides a raw and unfiltered look at the struggles and challenges faced by a Puerto Rican-American family living in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

The Story

“Manito” primarily focuses on the Morales family, including brothers Junior (played by Leo Minaya) and Manny (played by Franky G). The film unfolds over the course of one intense day, delving into the complexities of their lives. Junior is a young father trying to escape the cycle of poverty and crime, while Manny is a streetwise hustler with a checkered past. As their paths intersect and tensions rise, “Manito” explores themes of family, identity, and the desire for a better life.

Realistic Portrayal

One of the standout features of “Manito” is its realistic portrayal of urban life in Washington Heights. The film immerses viewers in the neighborhood’s vibrant and diverse culture while also highlighting the challenges of economic hardship, crime, and family dynamics.

Multidimensional Characters

“Manito” excels in creating multidimensional characters with authentic struggles and aspirations. The film offers a nuanced and compassionate look at Junior and Manny, both of whom grapple with their own dreams and demons. It humanizes its characters, making their experiences relatable and emotionally resonant.

Gritty Cinematography

The film’s cinematography captures the grit and energy of Washington Heights, infusing the narrative with a sense of immediacy. The handheld camera work and street-level perspective provide an immersive and visceral viewing experience.

Familial Bonds

“Manito” delves into the complex dynamics of family bonds and the impact of individual choices on loved ones. It explores how family members both support and challenge one another in their pursuit of a better life.

Independent Cinema

“Manito” is a notable example of independent cinema that prioritizes authenticity and human storytelling over flashy visuals or big budgets. It presents a compelling narrative that resonates with audiences through its genuine portrayal of urban life.


“Manito” is a raw and powerful drama that immerses viewers in the struggles and aspirations of a Puerto Rican-American family in Washington Heights. With its realistic portrayal of urban life, multidimensional characters, and gritty cinematography, the film offers an authentic and emotionally charged viewing experience. If you appreciate independent cinema that explores the complexities of family and identity in an urban setting, “Manito” is a must-watch that will leave a lasting impact.

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