Manchester By The Sea

Manchester By The Sea (2016)
R / 2h 17m / Drama
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Original Screenplay
Gotham Independent Film Award Winner (2016) – Best Actor, Casey Affleck
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Actor, Casey Affleck
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Original Screenplay
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Casey Affleck

My heart was broken. I know yours was broken, too.

I want to say that I expected to be devastated by this film. I expected to be sad. I expected to be drained. But I wasn’t.

Don’t take that as a failure from me – we know I watch film for emotional reaction – but I’m going to write this one down as a pleasant surprise, a pleasant experience, and a new classic to my household.

I can’t stand Ben Affleck as an actor so naturally I was hesitant about watching almost two and a half straight hours of Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler. All I know of him is his role as adult Tom Cooper in Interstellar and he was honestly kind of a jerk with the whole my kids are dying of asthma but I refuse to move out of the dust bowl thing. Also his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes for his win was lack luster. There’s just nothing about Casey that’s truly stunning for me – and that’s a big part as to why Manchester By The Sea works.

The best word I can use for this viewing experience is going to have to be mundane but not in a bad way. This film is slow moving with long scenes, heavy dialogue and repetitive interactions. The characters are overwhelmingly average. In all honesty its pace and progression is extremely similar to real life – something you’ll have to connect with to connect with the film.

Surely, the nature of the plot is devastating – familial loss is nothing any of us want but something all of us will share – its a huge part of Lee’s character development but surprisingly, it doesn’t overshadow it. That is RARE. We are given glimpses in flashbacks (I LOVE FLASHBACKS) at appropriate times and the puzzle falls into place fairly easily so you’re able to focus on the relationship at hand – Lee and his nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges).

I adored seeing them interact with each other. It was so raw, so familiar and so real. I remember being a teenager like it was yesterday (5 years ago basically) and the angst, the passions, the hobbies, the risks Patrick takes in these two and half hours are easy to relate to. Watching Lee attempt to be a responsible guardian given his horrible emotional circumstances showed his real desire to do the right thing. Just two terribly average, normal dudes full of sarcasm and dry humor trying to make it work – that’s why Casey Affleck was a perfect fit as the lead.

I won’t talk about the close, but I was happy and sad at the same time. I can appreciate that. I very much enjoyed Manchester By The Sea but certainly not enough to award it “best” anything. And honestly I’m kind of offended Michelle Williams is getting so much attention when she had maybe 10 minutes of screen time. Fuck off Michelle, Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges are the brightest dull stars I’ve seen to date.

8/10

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