Manchester by the Sea is an intense movie but not for some time. You will sit though some pretty boring dialogue before you get to the real gist of what’s going on. I kept wondering, why all the rave reviews? Eventually, there came a time in the story when the events changed and as a result, everything else was effected, including my thoughts about how mundane I thought Manchester by the Sea was. It turned out to be a monster of a movie with brilliant acting, just don’t expect more than a good, sad story.
From the onset of Manchester by the Sea, you see Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), who seems to have an extremely lax attitude, working as a super or janitor with no satisfaction as he idly moves from task to task. He seems robotic, unambitious, uncaring and unmotivated as if life has little meaning. Suddenly, he gets a phone call that requires him to go back to his original home in Manchester where his brother, Joe Chandler (Kyle Chandler) has just passed away, unexpectedly. Once there, we get the true story of Lee’s current situation. His late brother has a 16 year old son, Patrick Chandler (Lucas Hedges) who is still in high school and is now in need of a guardian. Lee struggles with having to take on the responsibility of guardianship. The reasons for Lee’s behavior and lackluster existence is the heart of the story, Manchester by the Sea. We find that Lee had real roots in Manchester that he could never go back to. In order not to spoil the surprises, twist and turns in this story, I will say no more.
I find Manchester by the Sea to be a very sad story but one that is profound, touching and heartfelt. It is definitely worth seeing. Casey Affleck was brilliant as Lee Chandler. Michelle Williams also delivers a fantastic performance as Randi Chandler. Check it out!
[Manchester by the Sea is nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Writing: Original Screenplay]