DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Manchester by the Sea

Director - Kenneth Lonergan - 2016

"Dirty gem"
As miserable as it gets: tale of a grumpy and cantankerous lonely man excels in its unusual storytelling format, turning an ordinary story of family mishaps into a fascinating movie with a top-drawer cast

Kenneth Lonergan has already authored Margaret (2011) and You Can Count on Me (2000), but still remains a relatively unknown filmmaker. You might have heard about him if you follow Scorsese’s movies. Lonergan wrote the script for the ambitious Gangs of New York (2002). Manchester by The Sea is an ordinary story about a man hesitating to reconnect with his relatives. What is unusual and extraordinary is the way the story is told.

The film starts and the dialogue has already begun. There is a feeling of disconnection with the events that took place earlier that lingers throughout the film. Eventually some flashbacks shed light on why Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is such a miserable man. Now he is a handyman in Massachusetts who enjoys getting into trouble. He argues with his clients, he does not tolerate his boss and he keeps his adrenaline high by engaging in pub brawls. A phone call interrupts this chain of maladjusted facts. His older brother Joe had died of a heart attack in Manchester-By-The-Sea, Massachusetts, and a solicitor reveals he is now the guardian of his teenage nephew.

There is a strange feeling in the air. Why would Joe make such a choice? After all, Lee cannot even take care of himself. It is obvious that something wrong led to the current situation. What was it?

The film continues in a narrative that looms very slowly. Lonergan invites the audience to untangle the wires of sorrows in which Lee is trapped. Affleck gives an appropriately intense interpretation of a man driven by his grief. His performance is suffocated by silence and misunderstandings, but there is also a good dose of humour. Affleck is responsible for the fame of the buzziest films of the year’s festival. A safe bet for international awards, too.

Gradually, Lee stops resisting his nephew. Played by Lucas Hedges (The Zero Theorem by Terry Gilliam, 2014), Patrick is a popular kid on the block, both with girls and mates. His mother divorced Joe years ago and she is not interested in bringing him to her new home. Eventually Lee will have to decide if he should keep his troubled life in Boston or come back to the city he wants to forget.

Manchester by The Sea is a compelling tale of escapism. All main characters crave for mercy, and this morose pace remains bitter for some time. But Lonergan’s capacity to entertain results in a driving force of change and redemption.

The movie is out in cinemas on Friday, January 13th.

This piece was originally written when the film showed as part of the BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.

You can also watch the film trailer below:

.



"Dirty gem"

By Maysa Monção - 11-10-2016

By Maysa Monção - 11-10-2016

Maysa Monção is a Brazilian writer, teacher, translator, editor and art performe...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Holidaying in Cambodia with Isaac (Ross McCall), Ben [Read More...]

Read More

The Velvet Underground

Todd Haynes
2021

Ian Schultz - 17-10-2021

One of the greatest music acts of all times gets the Todd Haynes treatment; the outcome is a fitting tribute as revolutionary as the band - in cinemas Friday, October 15th [Read More...]

Dashcam

Rob Savage
2021

Dan Meier - 17-10-2021

A real-life Covid denialist embarks on a vehicular hell trip in order to escape "madness", in this strange blend of found footage and screenlife horror - from the BFI London Film festival [Read More...]

Second Thoughts (Ich Ich Ich)

Zora Rux
2021

Justin Khoo - 16-10-2021

A failed marriage proposal stunt unleashes a number of unexpected events on a young German couple, in this exquisite debut feature - from the Raindance Film Festival [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *