[ToScenes] ?s=scenes Manchester By The Sea - Popular News
On fishing boat Claudia Marie, out of Manchester By the Sea, owner Joe Chandler (Kyle Chandler), younger brother Lee (Casey Affleck), and Joe’s grade-school son Patrick, horse around. “If you had the choice,” Lee asks nephew Patrick, “would you choose me or your father to take care of you?” Without hesitation, Patrick answers, “My dad.” Later, we understand that the fishing-boat scene is a flashback, 10 years before the events take place that we see in the film. We also understand the significance of the question and the answer. They’re at the heart of “Manchester By the Sea.”
What are the causes of adult Lee’s meaningless, anti-social life? Why did he leave Manchester By the Sea, his home town? How can he escape his lonely malaise? For answers, see this compelling and powerful film.
As central character, Lee Chandler, Casey Affleck gives an award-worthy, intense and sensitive performance, underplaying Lee’s brooding, repressed guilt and grief. As 16-year-old nephew Patrick, who has ample reasons for grief as well, Lucas Hedges (whom you may remember from “Moonrise Kingdom”) is excellent. Unlike his uncle, Patrick is verbal and quick to argue. He’s stressed with his (not very good) band, high school hockey team, and keeping his two girlfriends apart. Lee and Patrick’s scenes together are the emotional heart of the film.
Others in the talented cast include Kyle Chandler as Joe, Lee’s beloved older brother and Patrick’s father. Michelle Williams is Randi, Lee’s complex and conflicted ex-wife. Gretchen Mol is Patrick’s mother Elise, also divorced with issues. Anna Baryshnikov and Kara Hayward (also from “Moonrise Kingdom”) play Patrick’s girlfriends. C.J. Wilson is stalwart George.
“Manchester By the Sea” is an intelligently made work of art (I think that’s the right phrase for this film), requiring us to pay attention, put together narrative pieces (and many flashbacks), track characters and their interrelationships and, as its chronology of events is slowly revealed, appreciate its depth and subtlety. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, with cinematography by Jody Lee Lipes, editing by Jennifer Lame, it’s powerful and compelling storytelling. Its focus is never far from Lee and Patrick, two partners in grief. It’s a great, if dark, film, one you’ll want to see again. I do.
Rated R for pervasive language and sexual content, it runs 137 minutes. It’s definitely a keeper.
About grief and forgiveness,
“Manchester By the Sea,”
Heartbreaking and compelling.
By David S. Adams
For The Lima News
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