When going into a drama, you have to prepare yourself with the kind of story it’s going to tell whether it’s emotional and heartbreak. But it’s Oscar season, so Manchester By the Sea fits the credentials.
After the news of his brother’s death, Lee Chandler learns that he’s now the legal guardian of his nephew, which isn’t great for himself because of a troubling past that occurs to him.
Just hearing how great this was from Sundance, sometimes it’s always great to hear a film in advance would really tug on the heartstrings. Indeed it did. Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan pulls together a film about how dealing with grief upon a certain and the turmoils along with them. Almost every scene is filled with compassion with each of the characters focusing on an issue or something. There are a few scenes that will possibly be a tearjerker especially one that’s just painful to watch. By which nobody should go through that.
What’s great is that Lonergan’s script was absolutely fascinating. The dialogue felt real and didn’t feel too Hollywood. These are actual conversations happening in front of you. And what’s different is that most of the movie is told through flashbacks to showcase what happened before. It’s a nonlinear narrative structure, and at first, it was a bit contrived, but the more it keeps happening, the more it fully understands how it’s connecting to the rest of the film. Throughout this, it’s a hard watch because of the suggestive material it’s giving to us. It’s hard to overcome losing somebody and you never know if it can really be dealt with over time.
With that, you honestly understand why Affleck is this person. Manchester By the Sea is all kinds of complex in a good way. Casey Affleck gave a powerful and subdued performance as Lee Chandler. At first, he’s a bit unlikable kind of giving no reason why we should care about him. Once it’s revealed, it’s just too much to handle. This is the best role he has given since Gone Baby Gone or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. So much inside of this character that you just want him to be a standout guy all the time. As of right now, he’s the front-runner for Best Actor. Michelle Williams doesn’t have a huge role because she isn’t in it that much, but every time she appears in the film, she gives an emotional performance. An underrated actress I might add. Just a lot of heart given into every single one of her performances. She has a scene with Affleck and it’s one of those moments where it’s heartbreaking. The breakout role of the year goes to Lucas Hedges as Patrick. His performance is how a teenager should really act that’s just compelling and funny at the same time. You leave this film feeling like life has smack you in the face by not letting you give up on everything and starting over again.
Probably the one issue with this was that the pacing is a little slow sometimes. But this is something that can be somewhat good in this case. If it’s a slow-burning movie but it leads to the rest of the film better, it ends up being a good use of it’s running time.
This won’t be something that’s re-watchable anytime soon, but can’t lie to say how it struck a chord with other people as well. Greatly acted on everyone’s part, perfect directing/ writing, and a story that completely tells so much about tragic and life itself.
Manchester By the Sea tackles the theme of grief in a powerful way in this emotional drama with a raw performance from Casey Affleck.