Manchester By The Sea
Kenneth Lonergan is a name that I didn’t recognize because I’ve never seen any of his work. So basically for me, this film came out of the blue. Its getting early award buzz especially for Casey Affleck in the lead role. And I’ve got to say, its well deserved. The film is shot in and around Massachusetts, which genuinely looks beautiful in the film. Even the scenes involving winter just looked so gorgeous, serene, and real. Real is a word I think springs to mind for this film because its so genuine and just seems like an everyday story of a guy you might know. Affleck is a great actor, I enjoy a lot of his work. There was no way I was going to be let down by his performance. Its so effortless; Affleck just embodies the role of a distant loner of a man who is surrounded by grief. New responsibilities come upon him with the death of his brother. He isn’t just haunted by this event in the present but also by harrowing events of his past. Affleck’s Lee Chandler gets a character study that never tries to be overbearing with its emotion. Yet there’s pain in his eyes throughout the film.
Lonergan uses flashbacks throughout the film, which seems to be a popular (yet prosperous) form of storytelling. Events of Chandler’s past are intertwined with the present. The film does enough of a job of showing why this troubled, down out of luck man, is overcome by the tragic circumstances of his life. Michelle Williams is not in this film for long but she is great in a spectacular scene with Affleck in its third act. Even Lucas Hedges is great in the film. Hedges and Affleck’s interactions bring the humor in what should be an otherwise dark film (but it really isn’t). Without spoiling anything, there are two scenes that pack a punch and they both are very short. I don’t think this film treads any brand new ground but it does what it needs to do and it does it very well. I’ve been wrong about Oscar predictions in the past but surely Affleck is the frontrunner for Best Actor.