Casey Affleck shines in this American drama film about a depressed man who has to take custody of his nephew after both his brother dies.
So we have Lee Chandler, a grief-stricken loner who hates everything and everyone when he gets the message that his brother died of a heart attack. Lee has to go back to his hometown of Manchester-by-the-sea Massachusetts to look after his 16-year-old nephew Patrick. This is a movie filled with grief and how to handle tragic situations.
Let’s start with the acting and we need to talk about Casey AFfleck for a second. I couldn’t care less what the man is accused of, because the important factor is that he is a brilliant actor and the Oscar he got for best Actor for this performance is 120% deserved. He is believable and gives a performance not many other actors are capable of doing. The acting performance of Lucas Hedge, the grief-stricken teenager that has lost his dad is also so realistic and is totally a piece of acting art. In other supporting roles we find Michelle Williams as Lees ex-wife.
Now on the technical parts. The manuscript is written by the director Kenneth Lonergan and the plot throughout the film is realistic and a completely believable scenario that can happen to anyone. Lonergan has written a script well worthy of the Oscar he now won for it, and Manchester By The Sea is one of the most moving films ever made and will hit anyone straight in the heart.
The scene where Randi(Williams) and Lee(Affleck) talks again after the divorce is one of the best scenes made in Hollywood in years. It is breathtakingly beautiful to look at and the chemistry between the actors are so good.
Now to the direction. Lonergan started off in theater and that may be one of the reasons why the directing of Manchester By The Sea works out so well. He has made a movie that is carefully constructed while heavily discussing the subject of grief and how to handle crisis. The characters are so unique and heavy and the overall tone of the movie is borderline depressive in a good way.
The music, the soundtrack is done by Lesley Barber, a Canadian composer who has worked with Lonergan previous on movies like You Can Count on Me. The soundtrack is astonishing. The way she has taken clear inspiration from old 1700 hymns to create the tone of grief and despair to make this kind of elegant white noise that fits the entire movie. She is a splendid composer and she puts her unique touch on this film.
I have often talked about film as art, and Manchester By The Sea is filmatic art. The Cinematography is done by Jody Lee Lipes, a man with a lot of experience in documentaries and he manages to capture each frame with the realist tone of the movie, and the use of mise-en-scene to create a movie that feels realistic and unique makes it a piece of movie magic.
Manchester By The Sea is the kind of movie I wish I could see for the first time, several times. Afflecks acting and chemistry with his supporting cast is realistic and among the finest acting done in Hollywood in 2016. It truly is a piece of movie history and something everyone with a love of film should see several times.