Rose, an optometrist paralyzed by crushing grief after the death of her infant, has built a wall around herself, unable to relate to her estranged husband or anyone else. When an elderly patient, a painter losing his eyesight, begins to visit her office unannounced, Rose registers how alone he is, urging him to reach out and ask for help—something neither does easily. Meanwhile Simon, a late-blooming teenager with an overbearing mother, photographs people at a distance with a borrowed long lens. One day, Rose, beautiful and melancholy in a vibrant scarf, comes into focus in his camera sight. The pictures he shoots become a conduit for each of them to touch something deep within and expand their confining existence.
With raw, exacting performances by a top-notch cast, including Heather Graham, Dominic Chianese, Elizabeth Peña, and Victor Rasuk (of RAISING VICTOR VARGAS fame), ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN wields fertile metaphors and a sophisticated sense of psychology to penetrate the subtle process of human transformation and the possibilities for meaningful interchange lying dormant in contemporary urban life.
— Caroline Libresco, Sundance Film Guide