Manchester by the Sea (2017)


This film is downright depressing. But in the most magnificent way.

Walking into the theater, I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t seen any previews, I hadn’t heard about it from anyone, and I had absolutely no idea what I was in for.

Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a monotone-type loner who has just lost his older brother. It becomes obvious that Lee has isolated himself from the town he used to live in, the friends he used to have, and the family who loves him. Upon returning to his town to take care of his late brother’s funeral, he finds out that his nephew was left in his care without his knowledge. We see Lee’s life being continuously uprooted with each passing day and Casey Affleck does a fantastic job at playing this defeated, broken, and very beautifully tragic character.

The film is not all sad, though. Kenneth Lonergan added a few moments of awkward, hilarious comic relief. The only thing is that he puts it at the “worst” times. It’s almost as if he wanted the audience to feel awful for laughing.

“I can’t believe you’re laughing. You assholes.”

But where he placed the comedy takes you out of the sad mind state for a moment, and you can remember, “It’s only a movie”. The film truly is dark and depressing and it’s so beautifully — and painfully — all too real.

Quoting critic Adam Graham:

It’s painful and tragic, yet it’s cut with elements of humor and laughter. Just like life.


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