Manchester by the Sea review
What’s odd about 2016 is that we’ve gotten a bunch of films about grief. Summertime gave us Captain Fantastic and December was Collateral Beauty. The good news (which is ironic given it’s subject matter) is that there is always an audience for them as people die all the time. Death can be a tough subject that changes lives, especially to the living of those close to them. So why are a lot of people unprepared when the ticking moment finally happens? Probably because we don’t like to think about it and what troubles it could bring us. Most of us would rather enjoy the happy moments if there are any.
Though the idea is scary, I have sat down with my parents to find out whose going to take care of whom. Whose going to deal with the financial stuff and what about the house? These were legitimate concerns that I wanted to get a better understanding of. Sometimes, people are given responsibilities that their not even ready to get. This might include a house they can’t get to or a collection they can’t sell. Maybe even possibly custody of a child. The latter is explored in Manchester by the Sea.
Lee Chandler (played by Casey Affleck) is a janitor working in Quincy, Massachusetts who is introverted and is quick to action when confronted. He gets a call one morning about his brother Joseph (played by Kyle Chandler) being in an accident. After driving up north to see what the deal is, Lee finds out that Joseph has died from a heart attack. He then heads to the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea to tell Joseph’s son Patrick about his fathers passing. We’re shown initially that Lee used to be close to his nephew, but after a tragedy happened, they’ve haven’t spoken in a while.
Going into town, Lee sees that Patrick (played by Lucas Hedges) is now sixteen and happens to be a popular student. He tells his nephew of his fathers passing and vows to stay with him until the funeral. This seems to be a set back as Lee discovers that Joseph had set up his will for Lee to be Patrick’s guardian. Lee doesn’t feel like he’s up for the responsibility, as he is still keen on returning to his old life. Patrick isn’t too wild about the arraignment either as he would rather stay with his mother, who Lee has shunned. Lee also faces his ex-wife Randi (played by Michelle Williams) who may still have feelings for him.
Manchester by the Sea is definitely not a fun movie to sit through. It is, however, a really good drama to witness. For a story about an adult having to look after a child, you’d think that I would go into a route where a lot of stereotypical stories like this go. The good news is that the stories handles itself very maturely, and seems to Segway like something that would happen in real life. I could see something like this going they way it’s going, especially in the northeast.
If there’s something that this movie proves is that the Affleck family is really talented. Casey Affleck is the perfect actor for this kind of role. He looks like a person whose been carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders for a long time. Though their not in the movie that often, Kyle Chandler and Michelle Williams leave some heavy footprints with their performances. Though Manchester by the Sea is set in the gloomy winter, it’s still photographed beautifully, giving a lot of the emotion both scope and claustrophobia.
I’ll give this four and a half boat motors out of five. Manchester by the Sea happens to be real story about real people. I’d say that if your looking for something more fun, your not going to find it here. But it is engaging and deserves to be one of the best of 2016.