Manchester By The Sea (2016)

films, Reviews

I didn’t have much information on the film besides Michelle Williams being in it. I have always liked her as an artist, therefore put the movie on my list.

Rating 4 out of 5.

SITSF (Synopsis In The Simplest Form):

A story about a man who experienced an unfortunate event moves away from hometown but finds himself once again deciding to move back because of, yet another, unfortunate event. The movie stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams and was directed by Kenneth Lonergan.


Loved how natural everything felt; from the scenic to the awkward scenes between Casey’s character, Lee Chandler, and others. The cinematography felt somewhat like a documentary of Lee Chandler’s return to Manchester. The motion of the camera in parallel with the characters’ movements and the intruding scenes of private moments, such as one experienced by Patty Chandler, made the film feel almost realistic. Like Moonlight (2016), the film captures the essence of the real world. It captures the motions of the wind and the rhythm of speech.

Which brings me to the script. Not only was it well written, I am going to sound like a broken record, but the script mimicked the natural awkwardness of everyday speech that to one point you start to believe the story is real. It is also important to mention how the plot of the film is believable. Casey Affleck delivers some incredibly emotional lines in which the audience loses any doubt of whether some occurrences could be forgiven. The scene I’m specifically speaking about is when Affleck character is in the interrogation room. It can, in my opinion, bring up great conversations with friends. The montage leading up to this moment in the film is my favorite. The montage has almost no dialogue and is just paired with dramatic and somber symphonic accompaniment.

The reason I keep reiterating how realistic the script was being due to the character of Lee Chandler. He went through some very tough moments in his life, yet he didn’t allow himself to hit the mourning mental breakdown. The mourning mental breakdown is, what I call, the moment in which a character gives up the facade they had been displaying to the other characters. It is the moment in which they allow their emotions take over and they become vulnerable to everyone and everything. This moment of vulnerability is usually followed by other characters showing support and the character becoming stronger than before. However, Lee Chandler didn’t go through a mourning mental breakdown, he kept moving past the mourning. He didn’t need to have a breakdown for the audience to understand his pain. The audience felt the pain through watching Lee’s relentless effort to move forward. Unlike Lee, Patrick (his nephew ) showcased a different method of mourning. He did face a mourning mental breakdown, which was a result of him trying to embody Lee’s mourning method of moving forward. The contrast between Patrick and Lee displayed the mourning period from the perspective of a son who lost his father and a father who lost his children. It is beautiful to watch the complexity of the relationship between these two characters. They both have lost people they care for living and dead.

In addition, there is a sense of underlying machismo throughout the film. Not in the sense that the men attempt to display that males are better than women, but in the sense that the males attempt to hide their feelings and act like assholes. Patrick acts like a dick throughout the film. He acts like a player and dates two girls at once. He even goes as far as saying that two random girls would wish to be his girlfriends. This player like characteristics, however, serve as the façade by which Patrick hides his feelings in regards to his father’s passing. Lee, on the other hand, acts like a dick towards people by not being courteous and beating random people up. He also has difficulty communicating with people, as this is the result of his fear of hurting others. I’m not trying to say that the unfortunate circumstances they have gone through are an excuse for their behaviors, just simply pointing out what I saw.

In regards to the roles of the women, there weren’t many and, if there were, they were short. The women were very angry in the film, but they had reason to. They were reacting to the attitudes of the male counterpart. I enjoyed the determination of Michelle Williams’ character when she wanted the men out of her house at 2am.  Although we didn’t learn much of the women, I thought it was great being able to see how they developed in the passing years.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. I would have liked to see more of Michelle Williams, though.



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