14 July 2017

Review: Manchester by the Sea (Movie)

Manchester by the Sea: movie reviewI avoided watching the much-praised film Manchester by the Sea (written and directed by Kenneth Logan) for a number of reasons, but recently decided it was time to see what all the buzz was about.

When Lee, a broken man (played by Casey Affleck), returns to his home town to put his late brother's affairs in order, he learns he has been named the sole guardian of his nephew, Patrick (played by Lucas Hedges). This is a heartbreaking movie of a family beset by tragedy and troubles.

The acting, especially the performances by Affleck and Hedges, is fantastic. They push their characters' conflicts and emotions front and center, making it almost impossible for the viewer to turn away from the screen. The filming too is beautifully done, evoking the dark themes of the movie and providing a look into life in an East Coast sea town.

Manchester by the Sea is deserving of its many awards and nominations, but I'm recommending it with reservations. It's a difficult movie to watch, with little relief from the overriding sadness. It explores grief, forgiveness, broken relationships, and loss of self-confidence/-respect. Often times we moviegoers hope for great leaps of character growth or tidy, happy resolution of difficult issues. This film won't give you that.

In fact, my first reaction to the ending was, "What? That's it? No!" But like all good stories, Manchester by the Sea wouldn't leave my head. The more I thought about the final scenes, the more I began to understand what happened to Lee and Patrick during the months they lived together. This is one of those slow-burning films that you'll mull over for days.

If you can handle a movie that focuses on loss, disconnection, and loneliness, then put Manchester by the Sea in your queue. You might want to watch this one with a buddy.


rhapsodyinbooks 7/14/17, 6:45 AM  

I have avoided it exactly for the reasons you say!

bermudaonion 7/14/17, 8:38 AM  

I agree - this movie was very well made, but it sure was sad.

Karen White 7/14/17, 9:52 AM  

I had the same feeling but I had to watch it because of voting for SAG-AFTRA awards last year and I was really glad that I did. Although it was really sad, I think that they managed to pull out some hope from it. I was not a Casey Affleck fan and he really surprised me.

nishitak 7/14/17, 10:20 AM  

I have been meaning to see this film for the longest time. Casey Affleck must have done a fantastic job to win the Oscar in spite of all the scandals floating around him.

(Diane) bookchickdi 7/14/17, 12:35 PM  

I haven't seen it yet, but I do want to. I just have to be in the right frame of mind to watch a seriously sad movie.

Vicki 7/14/17, 12:58 PM  

I'm not into reading/watching the sads, but this does sound good, so maybe...

Tea 7/14/17, 1:56 PM  

You've written a really thoughtful review about this movie.

Peppermint Ph.D. 7/14/17, 6:15 PM  

I have it on my WatchList on Amazon but haven't been sure for the very reasons you discussed here.

Daryl 7/17/17, 2:17 PM  

it was a very well written/acted movie .. the simplicity of it is what makes it so good .. its not a big movie/story its about ordinary people and how life can change how things simple things can go wrong so very wrong. i loved it but not as much as i loved Moonlight ..

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