Manchester By The Sea, is a film that presents the stages of grief no matter in what form they come in. In this beautifully structured narrative, Kenneth Lonergan captures the deepest sorrow from different perspectives and it’s incredible. The film is not only nicely framed shot by shot but the film as a whole is well rounded and the parallels of the meaning of the sea bookend it quite nicely.
Lonergan incorporates so many elements that result in the grieving process, it carries such weight as it progresses in each scene. The richness of the dialogue was well established within the first five minutes of Casey Affleck’s character Lee Chandler being developed as a janitor. The dark humorous tone was presented and it stuck throughout the entire film when it was necessary. Casey Affleck was fantastic, he has always been an underrated actor and in this film he truly shines. Even though his character was distant and closed off, the emotional undertones were powerful enough to radiate off of him to bring you to tears. He was very reserved and emotional traumatized, he didn’t even have to say anything and the darkness of his tragic past would fill the frame. Michelle Williams who played his ex-wife Randi, had a great performance in a supporting role. There was a moment exchanged between the both of them in the middle of the film that was incredibly heartbreaking, it is one of the most painful scenes to watch. The breakout performance was Patrick Chandler’s played by newcomer Lucas Hedges. He surprised me the most because of how he went toe to toe with Casey and he matched his intensity in every single scene. Casey and Lucas had excellent chemistry and the dialogue was so sharp and quick between them that it made for humorous moments.
Lonergan’s filmmaking was different, which I liked. His method of flashbacks were highly effective and allowed friction between past and present considering what the story was about. Manchester By The Sea is the most heart-wrenching film of the year, it is so deeply moving that you will feel your heartbreaking. Casey Affleck was terrific in this and I would be very surprised if it doesn’t get him that golden statue.