Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges
Release Date: Dec. 16, 2016
Runtime: 2 hours, 17 minutes
Rating: Rated R for language throughout and some sexual content
Plot Summary: “An uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.”
Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” (2016) is definitely not one you want to watch if you do not like sad movies. It is not sad for the reason most people think it is, though; the element of the two main characters having to deal with the loss of Joe Chandler (Kyle Chandler’s character) is sad to watch, but what actually made this movie so sad (and, at times, depressing) was an event that happened to Lee (Casey Affleck’s character) in the past that is unimaginably heartbreaking. If you are not interested in seeing a movie that will make you cry, you need to avoid “Manchester by the Sea”.
However, just because this movie is sad, that does not mean it is a bad movie. This is actually a fantastic film with a unique screenplay, great scene flow, moving soundtrack, powerful story, excellent cinematography and phenomenal performances. Affleck, obviously, delivers a stupendous performance as a broken, isolated and hurt man who has another heap of tragedy thrown onto his already dismal life. Hedges soars with an emotional, powerful and soulful performance that will surely resonate with all young adults who watch this film (there is a particular scene with Hedges and Affleck involving a panic attack that I found to be flawless and incredibly realistic).
I also really enjoyed the emotional supporting performances that Chandler and Michelle Williams delivered in this film; they both were excellent and stole every scene they were in with their talents.
The only complaint I have with this film is that there is a lack of resolution in the story. The trailers suggested that this film would mostly be about the bond between Lee Chandler and his nephew, but they also hinted at a reparation of the broken relationship between Williams’ and Affleck’s characters; I do not want to spoil the movie, but I have to say that their relationship is never repaired and the story ends up forgetting about their problems and never resolves them. “Manchester by the Sea” also does not have an unhappy ending, but it does not have the ending most people think it is going to have either and I know that that is going to be incredibly disappointing for many viewers.
With all of that being said, “Manchester by the Sea” is going to get an “A-” from me. This is a great film that makes you feel like you are in the environment and situations with the characters and takes you along on an emotional journey. Affleck and Lonergan both deserved their Oscars for this great movie.