This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Nick J’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I really enjoyed this one. Well, maybe "enjoyed" isn't the right word...more like invested...this could be pretty tough to watch.
Once you get past those thick Boston accents (This film is hilariously New England with the boating and the middle-class rumor mill), "Manchester by the Sea" is just a really well-written, well-acted drama about grief that goes to the full extreme. The arc of seeing why Lee Chandler acts the way he does and seeing where he goes as he is thrust into the situation of looking after his nephew Patrick after the death of his brother Joe. It really is an admirable 100% effort by everyone on and off the screen, each actor doing what s/he has to do, the writing being engaging to help flesh out the dynamics between characters, and simple yet effective cinematography where the claustrophobic framing of shots really helps with the overall atmosphere. It is easy to see why this film has gotten so much praise when it gets so much out of what should be a typical formulaic drama and leads to that heart-ripping scene between Lee and Randi. The only big fault with the film is that it can be difficult to feel like the plot is moving, but with the focus and quality of the characterization and themes of the piece, it doesn't feel as big of a deal as I would usually make it. I got very invested in these characters, what their deal was, and how they were going to deal with the increasing tension and that is really what the film is about and what it does best.