Sunday, February 5, 2017

Manchester by the Sea

The opening scenes of Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea focus on Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) going about with his day. He seems content with the usual routine he goes through. It's when he gets a call that his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) is hospitalized that things start to change.

As Lonergan showed previously with You Can Count on Me, Manchester by the Sea doesn't need a fantastical premise to make it work. It just follows the day-to-day life of someone with flaws and those close to them. Lonergan finds a form of art from life itself.

Being a work that depicts grief and the emotional baggage that can come with it, Manchester by the Sea does come across as manipulative in that regard. (Honestly, any montage set to Albinoni's "Adagio in G Minor" is just asking for the waterworks to be unleashed.) That said, however, the emotions within one person aren't always the same as those in someone else (which, coincidentally, is a theme of the film).

Now onto the performances of note in Manchester by the Sea. While aspects of his private life have come to light recently (and almost overshadowed the film as a whole), Affleck's work shows his talents as an actor. Though not in the film very much, Chandler and Michelle Williams are also good. But special mention goes to Lucas Hedges, who very much has a promising career ahead of him.

Manchester by the Sea is a quiet and somber piece on carrying on after loss. One may feel completely hopeless within the aftermath but as the saying goes, time heals all wounds. But what's also crucial in the healing process is patience, and that's not always the easy part.

My Rating: ****1/2

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