‘Manchester By The Sea’
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Grade: 4 out of 5
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges
“Manchester By The Sea” stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and newcomer Lucas Hedges in a drama about a man who has to deal with a life challenge that he wasn’t quite expecting.
Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a soft spoken janitor in Quincy, MA who is just going about his daily routine and not really connecting with anyone, even when they try to assert themselves into his life He fixes problems around the complex and goes home to sit in his small apartment. Nothing exciting at all. He gets a call that his older brother, who’s had medical issues in the past, has passed away, so he heads back to his original hometown of Manchester to see to everything and be there for his 16 year old nephew Patrick, played by Hedges. The older brother’s wish was for Lee to become Patrick’s guardian.
This movie uses the flashback structure to unfold slowly and reveal the situations that lead to Lee living in Quincy now. We get glimpses of his early Manchester life and we get to understand why he’s so reluctant to follow his brother’s carefully laid out guardianship plans. Lee is dealing with some things, and being pulled back into his past may not be the right place for him.
This is a performance driven movie and Casey Affleck is putting in an incredibly layered and powerful portrayal. You can see exactly what he’s going through and it’s pretty haunting. He is absolutely great in this movie. Lucas Hedges is also incredibly charming as a Patrick, a young man whose world turns upside down and is trying to find balance between being a teenager and suddenly having to make adult decisions about his future. This is a very somber and emotional drama with flashes of humor throughout, but it’s main draw is the fantastic performances. Writer/Director Kenneth Lonergan has crafted a solid story that will stick with you for a little while afterwards.
-“Marquee Mark” Markellus’