Film Review -Manchester by the Sea




While sitting in the movie theater waiting for this film to start, I overheard one of the theaters ushers talking to a couple and the words he used to describe this film was “devastatingly sad”.  He was not lying. From the buzz I’ve heard about this film going in, I wasn’t going to see a movie that would be filled with sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops because as we all know, this is Oscar season and it’s filled with powerful performances and stories that tear you up inside.


I think that it’s a no brainer that Casey Affleck is nominated for Best Actor.  His performance was well portrayed and really resonated with me.  Affleck played the part of Lee Chandler, a handyman working at an apartment complex in Boston. Lee is someone who does his job well but also keeps to himself while living in a single room apartment. The layers of the onion start to peel throughout the film about Lee and you start to learn that something terrible has happened in this man’s past that has shaped him into who he is.  This film has flashbacks that flesh out the story and they are directed well by director Kenneth Lonergan.  It takes a couple flashbacks to understand where the flashbacks occur and where present time is but it’s seamless after that.  Through these flashbacks, we learn why Lee is the way he is, and it’s heartbreaking to say the least.


One thing I did not anticipate about this film, nor had I heard anything about is it’s humor.  I did laugh in this movie more than I anticipated and that is due partially because of the performance of Lucas Hedges who played Patrick. Through circumstances, Patrick and Lee cross paths and have to deal with issues together, even though they wish they didn’t have to.  Hedges and Affleck have very good chemistry and their relationship comes off as authentic and plays well.  Michelle Williams is also billed as a main lead although she’s not in the film a whole lot.  However there are 3 scenes she’s in this film, especially her last scene, that were emotional and well played.  That last scene alone could get her in the conversation for some awards.  Kyle Chandler is also in this film as Lee’s brother Joe and it is a good performance and I also enjoyed C.J. Wilson’s performance as George.


Overall this film has good performances, a good plot, and a great performance by Affleck.  I liked the film but didn’t love it.  It didn’t grab me like I thought it was going to as the movie played out and I can’t explain why.  I did sympathize with Lee and while there were times that he made poor decisions, it felt human, he felt flawed and it felt real.  This is a movie that’s worth your time and absolutely an Oscar contender.





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