By W James
When movies come out in the fall mostware made to get any bit of Oscar attention. Some are just made simply with the awards season in mind.
However, Manchester by the Sea exceeds in making an extremely compelling movie while also being worthy of Oscar contention.
Starring Casey Affleck and Directed Kenneth Loner, Manchester by the Sea is a character masterpiece full of heart and realism that is certainly worth the price of admission.
Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler a Bostoner who is working several dead-end jobs that he does over and over again with no real end in sight.
One day he gets a call from his hometown. His brother had died and he is given guardianship of his brother’s kid Patrick Chandler (Lucas Hedges).
Affleck is the star of the show. He gives a real take on a man with the past who is given a situation that most certainly isn’t ideal. Lee is a blunt character that doesn’t say much but what he doesn’t say is seen on Affleck’s face. There is just something raw the Affleck brings to the table that ultimately just feels real.
Michelle Williams (who plays Lee Chandler’s ex-wife Randi) and hedges help bolster Affleck’s performance. Seeing Patrick go through the different stages of grief as a teen and watching Randi deal with decisions made in the past is affecting the present all work really well together.
While the cinematography and the score help immerse the viewer into small town Boston, it was the editing and playing on the viewer’s expectation was really well done.
I don’t want to spoil anything but the use of flashbacks feel just like memories and we along with the characters have those quick realizations of what is happening.
Thematically the ways they shoot different scenes really play off the actor’s strengths.
For example, Lee is a very awkward so the camera stays on those awkward moments just long enough for the viewer to feel awkward too. Not really a downside but worth noting that this movie is every bit of 2hrs and 17 minutes.
It’s a long movie doesn’t treat the viewer like they’re stupid. Also, this movie isn’t for the faint of heart there are a lot of profanities and about 30 minutes in you realize why Lee is the way he is.
Overall, I think Manchester by the Sea it equal parts Oscar bait and heart. Affleck really shows his acting chops as well as Williams and Hedges. Even though Manchester by the Sea is fiction I still felt like I watched something that was real.
I felt for Lee. I felt for Randi. I felt for Patrick. Manchester by the Sea isn’t just a movie, it’s an emotional roller coaster that deserves every bit of praise.