Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Manchester by the Sea - Movie Review

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (R) Starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, Kyle Chandler, CJ Wilson, Gretchen Mol, Tate Donovan, Kara Hayward and Matthew Broderick.
Written & Directed by Kenneth Lonergan.


People deal with grief differently. Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) deals with his by not getting close to anyone. He works as a janitor for minimum wage, and he just takes the day one small job at a time. Fix the sink. Shovel the snow. Go to bar. Get in fight. Go home. Sleep.

Lee's miserable life gets interrupted when his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies, and he names Lee the guardian of his 16-year-old son Patrick (Lucas Hedges).  Lee doesn't feel emotionally equipped to deal with this new responsibility. He loves his nephew, but he was content to be Uncle Lee and no more.

The movie plays a bit with timelines. We see Lee when he was married to Randi (Michelle Williams), and we know there will be a big reveal as to what grief Lee was dealing with before his brother died. The movie is sprinkled with gallows humor that only people who've been through grief will understand.

I would be fine with Casey Affleck winning Best Actor for this. He does a really job of playing a man who's trying to suppress all of his emotions, and yet we can still see that inner struggle.

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