By now I’m sure any cinemagoer worth their salt has heard of the little film called ‘Manachester by the Sea’. This seemingly unassuming film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan is making big waves during award season and it deserves all the praise and accolades coming its way.
‘Manchester by the Sea’ follows the story of a loner Boston janitor, Lee Chandler, who is summoned back to his hometown due to the death of his beloved brother. This leaves him with the unexpected task of being the guardian of his 16-year-old nephew and forces him to face his tragic past that haunts him.
As you would have most likely already heard, Casey Affleck (now Golden Globe winner for this performance) is phenomenal portraying this sad and emotionally tortured New England blue collar worker. The character is displayed uncomfortably raw, which means that the film it is at times hard to watch and utterly heartbreaking.
His supporting cast are equally wonderful; His nephew Patrick, played by Lucas Hedges, is the perfect teenager while also showing a warmth, kindness, humour and grief all perfectly balanced. Michelle Williams gives a powerful performance as Lee’s ex wife Randi, and I can’t even watch her clips in the trailer now without balling!!
Although this is a very somber tale it is littered with humour albeit by the frustrations of everyday life or with the wonderful banter between Lee and Patrick. Lonergan has captured an intimate and horrific tale and told it with sensitivity, honesty and wit. Not something easily achieved in cinema while also keeping an audience gripped and invested in all the characters on screen.
‘Manachester by the Sea’ tugs with all it’s emotional might without making the viewers feeling forced to feel. A wonderfully and thought provoking film on grief, family and heartbreak.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.