Christina Reynolds’s review published on Letterboxd:
“It’s not a crime to not put a screen on the fire place”
“That’s it? I’m free to go?”
Manchester by the Sea is a 2016 American drama film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, and stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, and Lucas Hedges. The plot follows a man who, after his brother dies, is entrusted with the care of his teenage nephew.
if I must be brutally honest about the pace of this film I think it's important to know as an audience member that the speed at which it moves a develops - especially at the beginning - is remarkably slow. it would be unfair how to say this film at times is boring because its intent is not to be particularly exciting but investing a substantial amount of time to infer the director's choice in making this film is required. I didn't start liking this movie until exactly 55 minutes and 23 seconds into it ( but, who's counting, right?). This moment is preceded by a series of flashbacks and the obvious point of contention (Lee’s brother passing away). You may spend a lot of time asking yourself - “What is the point??” - and then it will suddenly smack you clear across the face with an measurable amount of intensity. This forces the audience to understand and appreciate the complexity of the plot without being engaged because of pity or curiosity.
Casey Affleck was awarded with both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his performance in this film; Well deserved, Affleck nails this role as someone who is struggling with a large amount of guilt and trauma; his silence Is deafening compared with body language that speaks for itself. The chemistry between Affleck and Hedges displayed as actors and characters is palpable and is considerably authentic given the overarching context in which their relationship exists and inevitably changes over time. The gait in which the metaphorically hammering gap between them slowly starts to become smaller feels remarkably realistic and is bound to resonate with unsuspecting audience members.
Perhaps one of the best things about this film is the manner in which it concludes; it would have been easier to end on a note that is dangerously drowning in optimism, but It ends On a point of neutrality instead. Not only will this compel emotion out of viewers that can empathize, but it serves as a reminder that life doesn’t always come prepared with the happy endings that are fantasized about. When all is said and done, we are left with a man that is still struggling to find his place in the world when all that gave him meaning was ripped away from him. We are left with a man that puts his pride aside and asks for help when it is needed. We’re left with a man that is willing to admit his shortcomings and acknowledge the insecurities that drive his behavior.
This is one of those films that feels easy to connect to in a way that can’t possibly be put into words (So, I’m not going to try). I cried, and quite frankly, there really wasn’t anything in this film that was particularly sad in the moment it was happening.
Be slowly absorbed by the suffering of the main character.
A highly recommend experience!