Manchester by the Sea : Movie Review

Just when i thought I had seen a movie that could not be topped or equaled this year with Nocturnal Animals, I'm continously surprised. Director and Writer Kenneth Lonergan puts together a brilliant, heart-wrenching story of a man who confronts a present and past tragedy, culminating in his further grief and acceptance of his life and its circumstances. Manchester by the Sea is a simple premise on the surface but this film is a master class of acting and it isn't just one of the best films of 2016, it's one of the greatest films I've seen in my lifetime. This gave me feelings of heartbreak and awe at such a tragic, human story that it's almost brings me tears thinking about it. It's a film that tugs at the heart strings but gives hope at the same time. And here's why.

 

Casey Affleck's Brilliant Career Performance:

Casey Affleck was an actor I was never really much of a fan of. He always seemed one-noted in his films, and he never really grabbed my interests. However, his subtlety and realistic approach to a broken and grief-stricken character is terrific as it is touching to watch. It's reminiscent of Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, a character who is subtle and tormented but he doesn't need to overact and show the audience how they must feel. He simply becomes the character and we understand how he feels instead of his acting trying to tell us what we should feel. It's masterful acting work and Affleck deserves a nomination and possible win for his performance. 

 

The Entire Supporting Cast:

Michelle Williams is a standout and delivers great work in every scene she's in as Lee's (Casey Affleck) ex-wife. Her performance is also heart-wrenching and authentic. Lucas Hedges is also very good as Patrick Chandler, the nephew of Lee who is left under the guardianship of Lee after the death of his father (played by Kyle Chandler). All the supporting roles are unique and show great realism in a world that is full of heartbreak and somberness. 

 

The Fantastic Screenplay:

A lot of the dialogue and pace of this movie has to do with Kenneth Lonergan's great screenplay. Every piece of dialogue feels real and rich in context, every conversation is meaningful and well timed by the director and the actors, and every moment of silence and reflection allows for the audience to reflect as well. It's a movie we can all connect to one way or another, providing us hope when all we may feel is pain. There's something about movies set in and around Boston that is just spectacular. It's also ironic that the film's main producer, Matt Damon, also starred in a brilliant boston-set film 18 years ago called Good Will Hunting, another film that revolves around heartbreak and acceptance. 

 

The Subtle moments of Humor:

What makes Manchester by the Sea so great are its moments of humor in the presence of seriousness. It feels real and keeps the film feeling fresh and not overly lought in depression. 

 

Manchester by the Sea is a fantastic film. That's an understatement. If you are a fan of masterclass acting, good storytelling, and good sob here and there, this is the film for you. I haven't cried or felt such heartbreak and sadness over a film as much as I had viewing this in a long time. Check this one out.

 

Final Grade : A+