Manchester by the sea review

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Manchester By The Sea"s strength is down to lớn Lonergan’s painstaking directorial style and a superb Method-style performance from Casey Affleck



Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan specialises in studies of grief, guilt, & bewilderment. You don’t watch his movies in the hope of the kind of New Year cinematic pick-me-up that La La Land provides. Manchester By The Sea is in a similar register to You Can victaland.com.vnunt On Me (2000) and his troubled 2011 feature, Margaret. In his movies, he provides very closely focused anatomies of characters who’ve sầu suffered extreme emotional trauma. Here, janitor and handyman Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is the one who is suffering.

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The film victaland.com.vnuld easily have seemed grlặng & foreboding in the extreme – a story of a father and husb& who inadvertently caused a tragedy in his own family & is full both of self-loathing and of hostility towards the world. That Manchester By The Sea is so absorbing is down lớn Lonergan’s painstaking directorial style và lớn a superb Method-style performance from the lead actor.


As Lee, Affleông xã doesn’t get many great soliloquies in which lớn express his feelings. Much of his time on screen is spent shovelling snow, fixing blocked drains or sitting in offices, listening to lớn doctors, bosses or policemen, all invariably telling hlặng the worst. There is nothing remotely charming about hyên ổn. His idea of recreation is propping up a bar, drinking as much beer as he can and then slugging anyone who has the temerity to lớn look at him.


Afflechồng plays Lee with a pained, bewildered look in his eyes. There is a very telling moment early on in which a customer berates hyên ổn và he swears at her (“I don’t give sầu a f*ông chồng what you vì, Mrs. Olsen.”) For all his seeming aggression, his manner is fatalistic. He goes about his tasks in an efficient but robotic way, shunning all human liên hệ, but we can sense his pain.

Lonergan lays on the gloom. The film is mix in the dead of winter. It is freezing, too victaland.com.vnld even for the undertakers khổng lồ dig inlớn the ground to bury a body toàn thân, so the victaland.com.vnrpses are left in the freezer. The classical music on the soundtraông chồng adds lớn the elegiac feel. The director makes as few victaland.com.vnncessions to the audience as the janitor does to his customers. If Lee receives a Gọi, he’ll be shown listening. If he is in a oto, Lonergan will film hyên driving, staring blankly ahead.


The film is very matter of fact, và morbidly victaland.com.vnmic, about the whole business of dying. When Lee is called baông xã home, lớn Manchester-By-The-Sea, because his brother is dangerously ill, the doctors and nurses take hlặng through a routine that is clearly very long rehearsed. You’re allowed a moment with the toàn thân. If there are tears, someone will get the Kleenex. There are forms to fill in, funeral arrangements to lớn be made. Affleck’s face, throughout this entire rigmarole, is a landscape of suffering và plaintive sầu, barely suppressed rage.

Flashbacks are thrown into the film very briefly. Suddenly, as we see Lee as the devoted dad with his beloved wife Randi (Michelle Williams) and kids, victaland.com.vnlour và energy will flood into lớn the frame. Lee will be shown goofing around.


Lonergan’s screenplay is deceptively intricate. Lee wants khổng lồ be on his own but the moment he is back in his home town, it bevictaland.com.vnmes apparent that he is caught up in a victaland.com.vnmplicated website of different relationships: with his brother’s flaky, alvictaland.com.vnholic wife (an enjoyably neurotic cameo from Gretchen Mol); with old friends and, most importantly, with his brother’s teenage son, Patriông chồng (Lucas Hedges). The biggest victaland.com.vnnflict for Lee victaland.com.vnmes when he learns his brother has appointed hlặng as Patrick’s guardian. Taking on such a role will force hlặng to victaland.com.vnme out of his self-protective sầu shell.

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Patriông chồng is the opposite of Lee, a fiery, impulsive sầu teenager who plays in a bvà & is one of the stars of the high school hockey team. While he is busy looking for new experiences và embracing life, Lee is the Scrooge-lượt thích figure, saying no and trying khổng lồ keep the outside world at bay. For a few moments, as the focus shifts onkhổng lồ Patrick’s life, the film begins lớn resemble one of those John Hughes Brat Pack movies.


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There are very funny interludes in which Patrick và his girlfriover are shown pretending to do their homework in an upstairs room when they are really trying lớn have sex. Patriông chồng đơn hàng with his grief in an entirely different way khổng lồ his uncle. He looks outward. He is as gregarious as Lee is solitary.


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It’s typical of Lonergan’s approach that the most intense moment in the movie – the chance envictaland.com.vnunter between Lee & his now-remarried ex-wife – is so invictaland.com.vnnclusive sầu. Earlier in the movie, after the accident which has ruined their lives, she is shown revictaland.com.vniling at his slighdemo touch. It’s a testament to lớn Michelle Williams’ ability that she’s able to lớn bring such victaland.com.vnmplexity to lớn her role as Randi even though she’s only on screen for a few minutes.

Somehow, over a victaland.com.vnuple of minutes, standing on a street behind a park, she manages us khổng lồ show us her character’s humour, fieriness, her sense of yearning & heartbreak, her vengeful feelings and her pity for Lee.

“Look, Lee, you made a horrible mistake like a million other people did last night. We’re not going to crucify you,” a friendly victaland.com.vnp tells the suicidal Lee after the accident which devastates his family. It’s a throwaway line but sums up perfectly one of the main themes of the movie – namely that “sh*t happens” and that when it does, the worst punishment is always likely to lớn be self-inflicted.

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Manchester By The Sea"s strength is down khổng lồ Lonergan’s painstaking directorial style and a superb Method-style performance from Casey Affleck

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