Cinema Review: Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Talent: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Released: 13th January

 

Upon receiving news of his brother’s passing, Lee Chandler (Affleck) returns to his hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea, where he is appalled to learn that he has been named as his teenaged nephew Patrick’s (Hedges) legal guardian. But Lee, still deeply scarred by an unspeakable tragedy which took place here years ago, soon finds himself overwhelmed by his new responsibilities.

What a film this is, a marvel of understatement, empathy and pathos. Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan infuses the drama with unexpected but very welcome humorous notes whilst taking some huge risks, none more so than asking the audience to become invested in a completely opaque protagonist, numbed by grief to such an extent that he is no longer able to sustain the most basic of human interactions. It’s an almost impossible role, but Casey Affleck rises to the challenge and gives the best performance of his career, ably supported by talented newcomer Lucas Hedges and the superlative Michelle Williams, and it all adds up to a truly unforgettable cinematic experience. Don’t miss it.

Words – Felipe Deakin

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