Manchester By The Sea (Movie Review)
It's that time of year, Oscar season. When powerful films from prolific actors and directors come out and touch us profoundly. When the best go beyond and transcend cinema and deliver an experience known all too well, life. Manchester By The Sea delivers a small part of life in 2016. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, Starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, and Lucas Hedges. Overall as a film, MBTS delivers a full range of emotions from the very beginning in its quiet open. While watching the film it started to become clear very quickly that this film would not be like most movies. In fact, watching this felt like watching someones life unfolding before our eyes and we were right there with them. With the heavy subject matter MBTS deals with, the story itself had a way of integrating humor that wasn't over the top and didn't feel out place from any character. For the most part every performance from each of the characters was subtle and gave each actor his or her time to shine but not our perform any other. The ensemble was what really gave this film the heart that it had and also was why some of the most heart pounding and emotional performances landed and resinated with audiences, myself included.
In one of the most heartbreaking performances I have ever seen, Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler was the people's eyes, ears, heart, and feelings. You smiled when he cracked a small smile, you were angry when he was mad, and you cried as he was forced to face his tragic past. Throughout his career, Casey Affleck has been overlooked by many while his brother Ben Affleck has taken on bigger more mainstream roles. Taking on quieter and lesser known roles in smaller films much like Manchester By The Sea has allowed Casey Affleck to shine. Casey really gives the performance of a lifetime, probably one of the most real performances in a film I or many others have ever seen. The raw emotion and depth Affleck brings is so heartbreaking, I can't imagine anyone else in this role. To help Affleck get to that state of sadness is Michelle Williams character who brought out every ounce of that emotion that made us want to cry. Although her role was much smaller than most of the casts, it wasn't any less impactful to the story, the characters surrounding hers and the moviegoers watching her performance. Kyle Chandler who also had very limited screen time made his presence felt as Lee's brother who passes away which leads Lee to return back home. Lucas Hedges plays Patrick, Lee's nephew who he is left to take care of after his brothers death. Hedges performance was very much the opposite of Affleck's but still in the tone of the film. He is fifteen and suddenly his world is turned upside down. His relationship with Lee is what moves him forward and also brings some very much needed light heartedness when the film starts to get too dark or sad.
As a whole, Manchester By The Sea is a film that should be watched and talked about, the story is subtle but powerful. The performances are Oscar caliber and should be in contention, this film will make you smile, laugh, cry and everything else in between. Manchester By The Sea is a true film at it's core and should be and will be talked about for years to come.