The ties that bind: A Manchester by the Sea review.


Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan.

Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol, Lucas Hedges.

The weight of our mistakes can lie heavy on our shoulders, they can change us, make us different people, affect the people around us and the way they perceive us to be. This is a subject at the very core of Manchester by the Sea, how do you move on from something that rocks your very world to its foundations?

Lee Chandler makes a living as a janitor, one day he is called back to his home town of Manchester-By-The-Sea, Massachusetts when he learns of the sudden death of his brother. Left to look after his teenage nephew Patrick whilst struggling to come to terms with a tragic past that forced him to leave there in the first place.

Written & directed by Kenneth Lonergan, filmed in the titular location and surrounding New England area, it is a beautifully shot film and with the use of a classical score to frame this locale, created some very evocative imagery. A brilliantly realised dramatic tale perfectly punctuated with moments of humour and levity, lightening the dark tone to just the right level.

There are some wonderfully strong dramatic turns on display in this film. The chemistry between Casey Affleck & Kyle Chandler as his young nephew is great, their back and forth dysfunction is played out to note perfect effect, Affleck’s world-weary Lee struggling to keep both their lives on the rails. At the time of writing this review, Casey Affleck had just been awarded the best actor in a drama at the Golden Globes, and well deserved it was too, conveying an unimaginable pain with likeable pathos. Exemplary support is also offered by Michelle Williams, there is a scene between her and Affleck toward the end of the movie, you will know it when you see it and it is simply astonishing, they both deserve whatever awards are coming their way for their performances in this film.

Manchester by the Sea is coming to our screens at a time of year where it is very easy for a films to be missed or skipped with so much to view. I implore everyone to check out this film if they can, you will not regret it.

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