With a powerful but understated performance from Casey Affleck as the beleaguered Lee Chandler, Manchester by the Sea was a worthy recipient at the 2017 Oscars. Lonergan, who has written and directed for stage and screen (including for Scorsese), draws believable and compelling characters. When solitary janitor Lee is called back to his home town of Manchester following the sudden death of his brother Joe, we are aware of the ghosts that haunt him. As the story is revealed we are taken to the depths of Lee’s despair. However Lonergan also reveals the hilariousness of family life, peppering this devastating observation of grief and loss, with plenty of left-field laughs. “Best of all, the film resists the tidy resolution of closure, aiming for something more intimately truthful to the lived reality of trauma.” Simran Hans, Sight and Sound
Dir: Kenneth Lonergan 137mins USA 2016
- Very powerful and captivating
- Brutally honest
- Regardless of the recent news stories involving its lead player [Casey Affleck], this film’s true star was its script, packed with a strong emotive core. The cinematography was exceptional and the
ensemble cast used superb blocking [sic] throughout
- A good film with a great soundtrack
- I liked the music!
- Enjoyed the direction and script but the music was awful!
- A carefully made and complex film
- There was a lot in it – very subtle. Not 137mins!
- Too long (but) sensitively performed
- Irredeemable agony and complexity – still enjoyed it though!
- I enjoyed this film – quite funny in places but mostly poignant. The frequent flashbacks made it hard to follow in places. Ending left open – would Lee stay with his nephew?
- Subtle – but where did the ProgNote find the humour?
- Slow to get going – but it developed ….
- Not a bad film but too long and strung out for me
- Not my cup of tea – too sombre. Dialogue difficult to hear (clearly). The town looked lovely. Lee = possible Asperger’s/psychotic?
- Far too much bad language!
- Dialogue not clear – subtitles, please! Very tedious
- The actors spoke indistinctly and I had little sympathy for any of the characters
- Am I allowed to say I couldn’t understand what they were saying at times? Some of the time-shifting was a bit confusing