Posted by: greercn | January 22, 2017

Manchester By The Sea

An extraordinary performance by Casey Affleck pulls at your heart. Lee Chandler has grown up being less successful and easy-going than his brother, Joe. Now, Lee is a janitor in Boston, USA and suffers from anxiety and anger issues.

His daily duties are observed. Then, Joe dies and Lee is named as guardian to Patrick, Joe’s son.

Kenneth Lonergan writes and directs this and uses its gorgeous Cape Ann setting as a character. When you are out to sea, with the fisherman or walking through the neighbourhood, you feel you are there.

With so many superb performances in the film, C.J. Wilson stands out as family friend George.

And Michelle Williams is terrific and very moving as Lee’s ex-wife.

Lucas Hedges is Joe’s son Patrick and he manages to pull you into his grief and concerns.

Kyle Chandler as Joe is as likeable and warm as his brother Lee is spiky and difficult.

Casey Affleck manages the deft trick of making the viewer understand how troubled Lee is while still making you wish well to the character.

At two hours and 17 minutes, it’s a long watch and the whole family story unfolds slowly and shifts between flashbacks and the present day.

There are times when scenes feel more theatrical but there is an understatement here, too.

Music is occasionally intrusive, but enhances the sense of place.

Cape Ann is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and it’s refreshing to see a story of working-class lives that celebrates ordinary people living off fishing.

Rarely have regular lives been so celebrated by a big Hollywood movie.

Others at the Stratford East Picturehouse were in tears. I wiped away one or two tears, but didn’t want to miss a single one of the fabulous images here.

Original and engrossing, skip this if you are recently bereaved. Otherwise, do see it.

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Responses

  1. Amazimg film! I loved the few comic lines and the music was very atmospheric adding further dispair to the story.

    • It’s very emotional and raw and kept my attention throughout. That’s hard to do as I find myself looking at my watch more and more, during movies. Casey Affleck is amazing and I was close to tears, a few times. Isn’t Cape Ann just beautiful?

      • It is a beautiful place! I love a place by water and would love to move somewhere like the lake district.

  2. The Lake District is beautiful but Cape Ann is one of my favourite places ever. I spent happy teenage holidays there, with my parents.


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