Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Running Time: 137 minutes
Directed & Written by: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges
Manchester by the Sea is an indie drama about a man who is asked to look after his 16-year-old nephew after the death of the boy’s father. Lee Chandler (Affleck), a quiet and reserved janitor receives news that his brother, Joe (Chandler) suffered from a heart attack. Upon arriving at the hospital, Lee is informed that he is too late. He is then required to travel back to his hometown, Manchester-by-the-Sea to break the news to Joe’s son, Patrick (Hedges). Soon, Lee finds out that Joe has appointed him as Patrick’s guardian. What will Lee do now, when he has been actively avoiding the people from home and any responsibilities that requires him to take care of another human being?
The slow unraveling of the film’s plot, of who the protagonist is and his past becomes a surprisingly interesting story where you can’t help but root for Lee the more you find out about him. Masterfully written and directed by Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea becomes one of those family dramas that reminds you of how imperfectly unpredictable, scary yet beautiful life can be. Filled with silences and the simplicity of the dialogue heightens the awkwardness and suffering Lee feels throughout the film.
Casey Affleck, no doubt, gave one of his best performances, breathing life into a character that is so tortured, so easily hateable yet as the story goes on, all you want to do is give him a hug and wish he will be able to let go of the pain and heartache that he carries around with him. Michelle Williams too, gave an incredibly moving performance even though her screen time is little.
All in all, a beautiful film and story with stellar acting from the cast and a soundtrack that has been carefully crafted into the individual scenes to heighten the emotions and tension of the scenes.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10