Manchester by the Sea – ☆☆☆
Director/Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Nominated for 6 Academy Awards
Summary: A janitor living in Boston is made to return to his hometown in Manchester, Massachusetts after his brother dies, and is left with his nephew in his care.
Despite numerous people telling me I’d cry my eyes out seeing this film, I was actually left unmoved. Manchester by the Sea is definitely in the slow burner category, while there are some memorable and particularly sad moments during this film, it’s nothing I’ve really bawled over, and instead I’m left with this constant bummer of a tone throughout the whole film.
Essentially, yes the whole film is about funeral planning, which granted, doesn’t boast the most lively and thrilling story line, so if you’re sitting down and expecting a whirlwind of excitement or theatrical drama, maybe this one isn’t for you. Manchester by the Sea isn’t so much of a ‘boo hoo’ film, than it is a ‘aw darn’ kind of film, where you’re just constantly let down and bummed by the events of the film without really feeling truly affected by the drama. I end up walking out just feeling like a massive sad face, and not in the best way. The intention I suppose is that it is supposed to draw out emotion from the viewer, but this frankly just made me feel very, well, ‘meh’ is the best way I can describe it.
It’s a very grey film, in terms of cinematography and plot, but perhaps the highlight of this film for me though was the relationship between Casey Affleck’s character, Lee Chandler, and breakout star Lucas Hedges’ character Patrick, who plays his nephew. The interaction between these two characters was indeed heart warming and quite humourous as Lee Chandler gets back in touch with his nephew. Lucas Hedges’ portrayal of Patrick truly throws in some colour to this film, given it’s serious tone and gives it a bit more running energy, which is perhaps why I didn’t dismiss this film completely and gave it some star potential. However pretty much every other character is uninteresting, with maybe the exception of Lee Chandler having his moments, but don’t even get me started on Michelle Williams’ character.
Manchester by the Sea is one of those films you’re not really going to remember. By the time it finished, I already forgot what I watched, or maybe my mind drifted off when the scene panned to yet another shot of a pier on a cloudy day.
Kind of a disappointment given the ranking of the other films in it’s category, however my watch is not over, so it might not be that bad.