Manchester by the Sea (2016) Poster

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8/10
tale of loss, regret, pain
paulandersonusa28 September 2017
First, this movie isn't for everyone. Some will rant and call it sentimental because it doesn't hit home. Whatever - stop watching if it doesn't work for you.

The quiet ordinariness of most of the film gives no distraction or respite from the searing pain of loss, regret at the irreversibility of time. Small, seemingly insignificant acts at some critical moment become pivot-points of lives - anyone who's been through anything even somewhat close to this film's events knows this. "Walk a mile in those shoes" as they say.

There are no glossy moments or artificially witty lightening lines or visuals to distract from the reality. This film shows how the middle-class in America (the getting-by middle-class, where things can turn on a dime and trade-off & sacrifice is a daily choice).

Regular lives - not bond-grinding poverty or its opposite - go through the rituals of hockey practice, band practice, teenage libido, frustration boiling over at petty obsessions from people unaware of the possibility that someone lives in tragic irreversible pain and regret.

What makes this film so powerful is that the central thread is barely perceptible at first - you guess that something troubles this man, but very likely your speculations are far, far off the reality. It slowly shows itself using muted retrospectives ('flashback' is too jarring a word); the pivotal event appears without any forewarning. One thought likely to occur when the viewer grasps the fullness of the event is "how is this man able to still face the day, communicate, function?".

The main character(s) anguish becomes more noticeable with time, to the point that even slightly empathetic viewers will likely question whether they need to re- calibrate their own perception of their ability to empathize.

Did I enjoy this film??? No - film can be more than feel-good eye/brain candy.

Will I watch it again? No - I don't need reminders about my own regrets, mistakes. I got a lot out of it - the empathy-calibration, context for my own experiences, and stellar performances from a few people.

I did re-assess my perceptions of empathy and my ability to empathize. Everything in the plot is more than plausible - the cinematography feels like it's filmed through the eyes of a normal, sane, rational and perceptive person. No artifice. People live in houses like those I've lived in, seen countless others live in. Actors didn't step out of Vogue or GQ. Very little true grubbiness is shown, but it's _not_ the scrubbed clean, crisp everything that many movies show. This feels exactly like what it is - a movie about ordinary middle- class/blue-collar living in 'normal' houses, streets.

This film won't be escapist for anyone not in the middle of far more difficult, horrific experiences - it's a window into a normal life that's been twisted and smashed by a small but pivotal omission - something tiny that many people have done without having to live with the consequences.

Watch it without preconceptions and see how it affects your perception of empathy, your ability to empathize.

It's not a film without hope, but the hope that does emerge as it winds down is realistic, muted and believable. Despite the obvious mistakes and failings of the main adult characters, it's plausible that most people would respect real-life people who could pick up, carry on, and try their darnedest to mend and be good people.
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9/10
It's as good as everyone is saying it is.
subxerogravity20 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It's just a well crafted picture.

Casey Affleck fits into this role like a glove, and he was amazing in it. If he were to win an Oscar for this one that would make sense completely.

Manchester by the Sea has Affleck as uncle Lee, a janitor in Boston whose brother dies and is forced by the will to take care of his nephew, a task he's not up to.

The movie is very real and strangely raw to be filmed so beautifully (but I am a sucker for movies shot in the winter). It's slow moving enough to notice but not enough to bore you, cause that's life.

What really grasp me about Manchester by the Sea is how clumsy it is. So many scenes in which the dramatic punches are ruined by everyday life. It's just not fake like a lot of movies are usually. It had the guts to keep in all those awkward moments that humans go through knowing that we would relate, and it does this without skipping on the romance you would find in dramas like this.

It's all the real emotions people go through when life gives you a curve ball, yet life does not allow you a time out. Great movie! Amazing performance by Affleck!!

A must see.
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7/10
Mesmerized
Prabhuraj25 December 2018
GREAT ! One of the best films ever. Phenomenal charactarisation and acting especially from Casey Affleck. I was mesmerized by this film. I felt like I was reading a novel, there was so much to contemplate and digest. I did not know what to expect or where the plot would lead. Captured the complexity of life and tragedy in a masterful way. Excellent.
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One Of The Rawest Dramas Of Recent Years
CalRhys18 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
An emotionally hard hitting and raw film that focuses on Lee Chandler, a man whose life has gone down the drain and is now leading one of personal emotional mayhem. There may be those out there who find that this film drags in certain parts, however the cleverly executed non-linear plot and near-flawless performances of conflict, hate and sly humour from the likes of Casey Affleck (who is now my favourite for the Oscar) makes 'Manchester by the Sea' one of the most gritty and emotionally-reverent dramas of recent years.

With a plot that dashes backwards and forwards, Lonergan has crafted an intense and almost shocking plot that gradually builds Affleck's character through the clever use of flashbacks and disguised thrills. Affleck has slowly been proving himself as an acting body to be commended, and this film has finally given us his most complex performance to date, that of a man on a path of self-inflicted emotional trauma. A film that hits hard and leaves a lasting impression.
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5/10
Affleck's acting is excellent but screenplay is half-baked
kvmarcin18 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I've very much enjoyed other Kenneth Lonergan films, and I've admired Casey Affleck's acting gifts for a long time. Because of the rave reviews, I was looking forward to seeing this. Unfortunately, the film went into production with a half-baked script. It probably needed another 5-6 rewrites to make the characterization more layered, develop the subplots more, and get to the pith of the central conflict, which was extremely weak.

The story didn't really get off the ground until the last third of the film. It's a testament to Affleck's acting, not the story, that the film managed to sustain my interest. The only thing I'll say about the music is that the classical music was used in a very ham-handed fashion to manipulate the audience's emotion.

Affleck plays a character named Lee, who has suffered a tragedy from which he can't recover. He does his best with an taciturn, undeveloped character whose aims are vague and is so caught in depression and grief that he displays little outward emotional expression. The other major character is Patrick, a teenage boy whose father, Affleck's brother, has died suddenly.

One of the big wrongs in the screenplay is that we don't get any sense that Patrick is grieving or even in shock about his father's death until a contrived scene later in the movie about a refrigerator that is a weak, unconvincing attempt to show Patrick has feelings about his father.

The relationship between Lee and Patrick is meandering and with mild conflict here and there. It's supposed to be the spine of the movie, but it's so flaccid that the film often lacks focus.

I think this movie has something to say, but it's not fully articulated, because the film was shot before the script was fully ready for production.
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10/10
A real experience of life fully lived
howard.schumann16 October 2016
Dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy turns a once warm and ebullient family man into a solemn, withdrawn, and angry loner in Kenneth Lonergan's ("Margaret") bittersweet drama Manchester by the Sea, one of the best films of 2016. Set in the picturesque city of Manchester on Massachusetts' north shore, cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") captures the rugged beauty of the New England town with its bays filled with trawlers and its winter streets and municipal buildings covered in a shimmering white. It is a town that looks as if it has not changed in decades, or even centuries.

Lee Chandler, in a haunting performance by Casey Affleck ("Interstellar"), is a janitor/handyman who spends his days painting, doing minor plumbing work, repairing leaks, and so on or just giving advice while making sure to avoid any social interaction with the people he is working for. His nights are spent drinking alone in bars where he is quick to start fights or at home watching TV in his small apartment. There is no hint during the film's first half hour about what has brought him to his present state of disequilibrium, but in his mumbling inability to express his thoughts, we know that something unspoken is driving his need for isolation.

Lee has been living in nearby Quincy but, when his older brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler, "Carol") succumbs to a heart attack, he has to return to Manchester to make funeral arrangements and attend the reading of the will and to confront the people that he has turned away from. His grief over his brother's death turns to shock, however, when he discovers that he has been named the legal guardian of Joe's 16-year-old son Patrick (Lucas Hedges, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"), a popular high school student. Since Patrick's mom Elise (Gretchen Mol, "Anesthesia") is an alcoholic who left town long ago, Lee is the only person who can assume the task.

It is one, however, that he does not feel ready for. Eventually, the seminal event that changed Lee's life forever is revealed, depicted in a straightforward manner without histrionics or pandering, even if the overused baroque music tends to amplify the drama beyond what is required. In flashback, we see that Lee was once a happy family man with a loving wife Randi (Michelle Williams, "Suite Française") and three young children and we see him joking around with his young nephew Patrick (Ben O'Brien) on their fishing boat. Assuming the responsibility of being a father-figure to Patrick, we glimpse the man that Lee used to be.

The dialogue between the abrasive Lee and the feisty, sharp-tongued Patrick feels real and without guile but channeling the chemistry they have together into rebuilding his life is a challenge. Manchester by the Sea is a serious film but is balanced by humor. In one such scene, Patrick awkwardly attempts to hide the obvious from his mom about studying in his room with his girlfriend. Another funny incident takes place when Lee is used as a cover for Patrick's surreptitious juggling of his two girlfriends. The issues between them take a more serious tone, however, when Lee is convinced that he and Patrick should move to Boston, a suggestion that Patrick rebels at, citing his high school girlfriends, his being on the soccer team, and his playing in the school band.

Though Michelle Williams has a small role, she turns in one of her best performances. In a powerful confrontation with Lee, it is clear that she still loves him but has felt compelled to suppress it in order to bury the past and move on. Manchester by the Sea belongs to Casey Affleck, however, who turns in what is arguably the best performance of his career. The film does not have the sort of neat resolution that you may have come to expect but what it does have are real people whose lives you want to be a part of and you know that that world is not one that can only happen in the movies, but a real experience of life fully lived in all its pain and all its joy.
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9/10
and the Oscar for Best Actor goes to...
bardia-moose16 September 2016
After the sudden death of his older brother, Lee, played by Casey Affleck, is made legal guardian of his son Patrick. He then returns to his hometown and is forced to deal with a tragic past that separated him from his family and the community he was born and raised in.

Kenneth Lonergan is such an extraordinary and talented writer; his beautifully, and richly, textured drama draws upon the timeless themes of recovery, redemption, and the persistence of guilt in such a way that feels fresh. The emotion is never overbearing for the sake of being overbearing, rather it feels all too real, which is a credit to the writing as much as it is to the fantastic performances.

This is the 'Casey Affleck show' from beginning to end; you can just give him the 'Best Actor' Oscar right now and save everyone a whole lot of trouble. He radiates this aura of subtle magnetism so brilliantly and effortlessly; there's not a single emotion on the spectrum that goes unexploited.

As much as the film is about Lee and his internal journey from tragedy to something a lot more hopeful, it's also about his nephew, played by Lucas Hedges, who has a very bright future, and his personal struggle to cope with his father's death. Despite having a small yet significant part in the film, Michelle Williams' performance is a treasure to behold. There's one scene, in particular, where she got everyone in attendance wishing they brought a tissue.

Unlike many big-budget studio movies, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is not afraid to make the audience work and test the viewer's patience with its constant, and unannounced, cutting between past and present, as well as its unwavering unravelling of character background and motivation. In fact, one of its best aspects is the lack of close-ups. Almost everything is filmed from afar, which reflects Lee's emotional distancing. And it's not until later where you finally find out why this guy has detached himself from the rest of the world. Then, from that point on, you're in his head; you watch the film unfold from a point-of-view almost entirely foreign to how you viewed it at first.

Regardless of the second half's slackening pace and film's familiar DNA, this is without a doubt the most personal and heart wrenching film of 2016 thus far. Maybe even the best.
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10/10
A masterpiece of family angst
bob-the-movie-man26 January 2017
Wow! I'd heard all about the Oscar hype surrounding this film but to be honest, while I thought I would be seeing a solid and well-made indie film, I went into it without great expectations of having an 'enjoyable' time: the trailer had "angst" written all over it. And – sure – it is emotional and harrowing in places. However, I was completely knocked out by the depth, the intelligence and the humour of this masterpiece.

'Family troubles' is a common trope for the movies, and I was strongly reminded at times in watching this movie of a multi-Oscar winning classic of my youth: Robert Redford's "Ordinary People" back in 1980. In that film the relationship between parents (Mary Tyler-Moore and Donald Sutherland) and their teenage son (Timothy Hutton) is rocked by the accidental death of another family member. Similarly, in "Manchester by the Sea" a drifting handyman Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck, "Triple 9", "Interstellar") gets the shocking news that his only brother Joe (Kyle Chandler, "The Wolf of Wall Street") has suddenly passed away, leaving behind a mid-teens son Patrick (Lucas Hedges) with no-one to look after him.

With the other option being an unstable and ex-alcoholic mother Elise (Gretchen Mol) – now divorced and living in a strictly pious household with new husband Jeffrey (Matthew Broderick) – Joe has legally plumped for naming Lee as the boy's guardian. This is much to Lee's surprise and annoyance. For Lee is a man-adrift: an antisocial loner with a very short fuse. Having any sort of responsibility is not in his game plan.

With the ground too frozen to bury his brother, Lee is forced to remain in Manchester-by-the-Sea for a few weeks: a town he can't stand and a town that, for some reason, can't stand him. Can Lee's attitude be softened by his lively and over-sexed nephew? Or will he just continue his emotional and social decline towards a gutter and a brown-bag? Where this film surprises – with a strong kick to the gut – is that while I have described the high-level story in the paragraphs above that the trailer depicts, there is a whole other dimension to the tale that is hidden and truly astonishing. No spoilers, but if you are not shocked and moved by it, then you need your humanity chip reset.

Casey Affleck is Oscar-nominated now for Best Actor and I would love to see him win for this. I had a real go at his brother, Ben, for a lack of facial variation in his performance in "Live By Night". Here, while Casey has a similar dour and pretty rigid demeanour, his performance is chalk-and-cheese compared to Ben. He channels a shut-down rage in his eyes that is both haunting and disturbing in equal measure.

Young Lucas Hedges – overlooked by the BAFTAs (he is in the "Rising Star" category) but yesterday nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar – is equally strong, burying his teenage grief in guitars, sex and smart phones in a highly believable way.

Supporting roles are equally strong, with Michelle Williams – albeit only having limited screen time – delivering truly memorable scenes, notably the street encounter with Lee (as featured on the poster) which is electrifying. She is also Oscar nominated for the role.

What really makes these performances shine is the elegant directing by Kenneth Lonergan, better known for his screenplays on films like "Analyze This" and "Gangs of New York". He gives the actors time… lots of time. A typical example is when young Patrick walks into Lee's bedroom and stares at some photos on his bedside table before walking on. It must be a good 20 to 30 seconds used, but time really well spent. The film spectacularly uses flash-backs to great effect, with the only visual notification that you are in a different time-zone being the living and breathing appearance of Joe in the shot.

Lonergan also writes the screenplay, and I mentioned in my introduction the humour used. There are some outright belly laughs in this film, which feels incongruous with the morbid subject matter but which also feels guiltily appropriate (we've all surely had an experience where a tense funeral mood is lightened by an uncle loudly farting at the back of the church, or similar!).

Manchester-by-the-Sea is a picturesque place in Massachusetts, and the camera work by Jody Lee Lipes ("Martha Marcy May Marlene", "Trainwreck") lovingly makes use of that. There is incredibly crisp focus, with the opening boat scene looks like it is hyper-HD.

This is a truly stunning film, and one that will live with me for many years to come. For that reason it receives my highest accolade together with my best wishes for success at the forthcoming Oscars. If you haven't yet, go see it.

(For the graphical version of this review please visit bob-the-movie-man.com or search for One Mann's Movies on Facebook.)
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10/10
Beautifully melancholic
rowanuk7 January 2017
These type of films don't come around that often, and for good reason. It takes focus and effort to come up with stories and themes that touch deeper than the usual Hollywood dirge. The story-line is completely unpredictable , unlike 95% of the films out there.

What is most intriguing about M B T S , is the way in which highly depressing themes are kept in check with humour, intelligent scripting and a subtle feel good factor, which seems to creep in at exactly the right time. The overall feel is also kept balanced by the intricacies of the relationships between various characters. Affleck has taken his game to the next level , his character and mannerisms are completely believable -he is submerged into type.

As a couple of mid 40 somethings, we grew tired of the typical film genres some years ago. We long for films like this, and having seen many of the nominated films for this year (bafta), this one is by far the clear leader. Hacksaw ridge is just another glorification of war, predictable, overly violent and boring, silence is good OK but not special and the list goes on. Manchester by the sea deserves recognition for standing out in a sea of mediocrity
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10/10
Lonergan's beautifully understated writing, and Affleck's stunning performance, create a powerhouse picture that will surely sweep awards
neverever12110 October 2016
I was very pleased to snag a last minute returned, lone available ticket to the European premiere of this on Saturday as I'd heard a lot of great things about this film and it had been sold out.

The premise is simple: when his brother Joe dies, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is forced to take care of his teenage nephew in his hometown, from which he moved away years earlier to escape his demons from a trauma years earlier.

It becomes clear early on that Lee had life figured out years earlier. The film jumps between the past and the present, revealing a time where Lee was married, spent a lot of time with his friends and family (especially his brother and his nephew) and was content with life. But while jumping between the two periods of time, the film travels along at a slow, tense pace, tentatively revealing facets of Lee's past and present personalities (which are remarkably different) before hitting the audience with the full force of what exactly what made him run from his hometown.

Casey Affleck is astonishingly good and it's no wonder that there is a strong early buzz around his performance. He essentially plays two different characters, a man before trauma and a man after. The 'before' in flashbacks is fairly simple, a relatively friendly and happy-go-lucky guy who spends a lot of time with his friends and family, has a close relationship with his nephew, etc. But where he excels is in the quiet desperation of the present-day Lee Chandler. With this character there are only rare moments of outward emotion - but Affleck plays it so that it is painfully clear just how much hurt Lee is keeping inside. Best Actor Oscar nomination, and highly possible win, incoming.

Despite the serious subject matter, there is a surprising warmth that permeates the film. This is a film primarily about a man forced to confront his demons, yes, but it is also a film about family and the ties that bind us to our hometown. There is a terrific chemistry between Affleck's Lee and Lucas Hedges, who plays his nephew Patrick. Make no mistake, despite its subject matter this film is often hilarious, with the dialogue between Lee and his nephew providing most of the frequent outbursts of laughter in the cinema. Owing to his detachment and fear, Lee is fairly useless as a caregiver to Patrick, who in turn pushes his limits in being allowed to do whatever he wants (mostly chasing girls - there are particularly hilarious scenes when he is trying to get laid).

Affleck's Lee is also forced to confront his demons in the form of his now ex-wife Randi, played by the ever-brilliant Michelle Williams. It's actually a relatively small part, but a key one, with an especially important scene that is played beautifully by both Affleck and Williams. In the Q&A that took place before the film, Williams talked about how she had spent 15 years wanting to work with 'Kenny' Lonergan, the director, as he is such a beautiful writer, and so she jumped at the chance before she'd even really heard detail about the part.

And it's clear to see why she would be so desperate to work with Kenneth Lonergan, whose writing and directing for this film is gentle, warm and heartbreaking in one package. It's bleak, but hints at hope. It's understated, but breaks out in small moments of agony without overdoing it (the middle of the film is particularly gut-wrenching). I would be very surprised not to see nominations in his direction also.

Beautiful writing and directing from Kenneth Lonergan, and a stunning performance from Casey Affleck in particular. It's a beautiful, quiet picture encapsulating trauma, guilt, redemption and familial bonds.
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5/10
It didn't work for me
areinhol6 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Our hero is an angry man who can't seem to hold it together. Through a series of flashbacks we learn why: a great tragedy has traumatized him. But this is not just any tragedy, I can't think of anything worse that could happen to someone. Oedipus Rex plucks out his eyes with less cause.

So there is plenty of motivation for him becoming an angry loner, but his past could motivate any dramatic outcome, celibate monk, mass murderer, iconoclastic artist, CIA assassin, raving lunatic. Call a suicide prevention hot line with his backstory and they might direct you to a right-to-die website.

Psychotherapy is apparently never an option in the townie macho culture the film depicts; the local police have a very strong reason to get him counseling, but there is no indication they ever do. Self-medication with alcohol is the only succor he gets.

OK, so I understand why our hero is angry, but why are most of the other characters attempting a Boston accent so touchy? The accent-free characters in the film never get upset.

Despite the portentous music, the film's front story is not so tragic. (A different score could turn this glass-half-empty downer into a half-full feel-good charmer. Some film school should do the experiment.) Our hero realizes his limitations and makes some reasonable choices. The brilliantly acted and Oscar-headed moment when his ex-wife tries to help made me wonder just how she managed to get over it so well.

An inability to control his fists is our hero's one shortcoming. Watching a seething Casey Affleck staring out his late brother's bedroom window, my immediate reaction was at least he isn't punching his fist through the glass, and then, a second later, he does. No angry-male stereotypes were harmed in the making of this movie.

My takeaway? Check your smoke detectors regularly.
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5/10
Terribly Overrated
samkan17 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not a snob out to distinguish himself from the 97% Rotten Tomato ravers. I was just really disappointed walking out of the theatre. I don't know if I've ever seen a more self indulgent domestic weepy. The film sets the viewer up with mountains of spoon-fed plot tragedy and setback and then mines every last drop of melodrama and tears out of such. Affleck's character is a flawless, blameless Everyman and behaves so heroic it becomes impossible to feel for his plight. Williams is terrific but barely on screen for ten minutes. What apparently is intended to pass as compelling real-life dialog quickly becomes mundane and boring. Likewise, our younger protagonist is a teenage lothario having far too good a time to be awarded compassion. The non- Hollywood ending comes across as pretentious, though it certainly comes as a relief.
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4/10
Terrible Soundtrack - too much of nothing
corinneschoenick26 May 2017
I struggled between 3 and 4 stars. This movie went nowhere. The soundtrack was the most awful thing constant choir 'aahs' and 'oohs' which totally detracted from the movie content as weak as it was. There was no resolution to the issue presented in this movie. What a waste of 2 hours.
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9/10
See It for Affleck!
Bob-5626 January 2017
In spite of a most annoying & pretentious score, this was a very moving film--actually a mouth-gaping appreciation of Casey Affleck. He carries the film, along with the actor playing his brother, Michelle Williams, & his nephew. Some scenes early on seem to plod on, and the pivotal scene of Affleck's past (that will forever haunt him) is reconstructed by voice-over rather than __seeing__ the evidence, which becomes a little disconcerting, considering how important it is. I was really impressed by Affleck's character, who seemed incapable of enjoying anything in his life. His alcoholism is palpable, as well as his violence, but he plays a wholly realized character--infinitely better than he did in "Gone Baby Gone." I hope he wins an Oscar for this role: I've never seen him better. And Michelle Williams is wonderful, especially in a near-conclusion confrontation with Affleck: that alone is Oscar-worthy. It's beautifully shot in the actual Manchester-by-the-Sea, and it's definitely worth seeing.
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8/10
Tragic, Depressing, with no Redemption
claudio_carvalho26 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In Quincy, the quiet and ruthless janitor and handyman Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is summoned by George (C.J. Wilson), who is a family friend, to go to Manchester since his older brother Joe Chandler (Kyle Chandler) has had a heart attack and is in a hospital. When Lee arrives, Joe has just died and Lee makes arrangements for the funeral with George. Then he seeks out his sixteen year-old nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges) at the hockey training to tell the news. They go to the morgue and then they head to Joe's lawyer to learn his will. Lee is surprised that Joe has assigned him to be Patrick's guardian. He is reluctant and neither wants to stay in Manchester nor deliver his nephew to his alcoholic mother Elise (Gretchen Mol) and decides to bring Patrick with him to Quincy. However the teenager does not want to leave his life in the town. While planning Joe's burial and funeral, Lee is haunted by his past in Manchester, where he happily lived with his wife Randi (Michelle Williams) and three children until the day a tragedy happened with his family. What will be his final decision?

"Manchester by the Sea" is a realistic film with a tragic and depressing story and no redemption for the lead character. The plot is well resolved for his beloved nephew Patrick but never to Lee, who does not forgive himself for what happened to his family due to his negligence. The direction, screenplay using flashback to explain Lee's behavior and performances are top-notch. Many viewers would expect a more optimistic and happier conclusion but the author chose only a better improvement in the lead character's attitude toward life and this might be the reason of great number of bad reviews. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Manchester À Beira-Mar" ("Manchester by the Sea")
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1/10
Dull , Dull , Dull ****Warning Spoilers******
dave_rollason31 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I joined IMDb today so I could write this review.

How this has been nominated for 6 Oscars is beyond belief.

The Film starts slows and plods on to dreary end where nothing really happens, Casey Afflecks performance is wooden to the point where you cant sympathise with his character and the fact that he was using drugs and drinking when his house burnt down.

The film jumps about from flashback to present in the early stages and early on its difficult to tell which is which, Lee doesn't look that happy prior to the fire , so you never really get a sense of comparison.

This film may have benefited from just running through the course of events rather in order than flash backs, there is a sense that some big secret is about to be revealed - but nothing happens then it ends.

Just a few specifics to comment on which added to the drudgery ;

1. When his wife wants to go to lunch with him it sounds like there is a huge confession coming ie - it was me that took the guard off the fire - but No

2. Much was made in the hospital of not having his brothers personal effects - nothing was mentioned again.

3. The symoblism that was tried for in the frozen meat in the freezer because his dad was kept in a freezer at the undertakers was quite frankly ludicrous and in poor film was very badly acted.

4. The son of the dead brother seemed really happy considering his dad had just died.

5. The overuse of emotional classical music in scenes that were just not that emotional just didn't work.

I didn't like it.
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9/10
The Most Real Film of the Year
trevor-829442 December 2016
A man and a boy, one an uncle, one a nephew, are engaged in an intimate fishing lesson off the lake on Manchester, Connecticut. This melodic view takes us from here through the uncle's cold spiritual journey of knowing his place amidst the chaos of death.

Manchester by the Sea is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan (Gangs of New York), whose hard work shows in how deep he is willing to dive into the darkest corners of everyone we meet throughout his record of memories. The lonely, depressed, recently divorced plumber we are invited to connect with has a lot coming at him; having lost his brother to cardiac arrest, and now left to be the only one left to take in custody of his now fatherless nephew.

From watching the heartbreaking flashbacks that depict the uncertainty of the plumber's path, to the humbling, somber performance by Casey Affleck (no tears necessary), all audiences suited for the well- earned R-rating will be greatly moved by its rough depiction of an everyday story within an everyday life.

What makes the chilling power of this deceptively simple story so powerful is the consistently cold feel that Lonergan maintains from start to finish. Being set in the northeast, snow appears all over to reflect the plumber's state of mind, and the cold is felt all the greater depending on the amount of stress tugging between him and his blood relatives. The screen's empty starkness takes its time to linger on the quietest of moments, screaming the loudest of internal noises without saying a word.

Manchester by the Sea could have easily taken place anywhere in the world, not necessarily in one particular small town in one particular part of the nation. What makes the Boston-Manchester setting work to its advantage is its subtle handling of the culture, right down to the look, feel, and taste of the area. The much-needed emphasis on father and son bonding through the quietness of fishing bookends the film with the one single image that defines everything valued by the people who live there. Also similar to last year's big Oscar-winner Spotlight, there is a clear presence of Catholicism guiding the lives of all Bostonians, whether or not they consider themselves religious. They claim that all Catholics are Christian, which is not entirely true, nor is it said so in the feature, but it works to the advantage of making the sense of hope they seek after touch much closer to home.

There are plenty of independent features out there that tackle the discomforting subject of family death and custody, but none of them handle it with the same level of detail, humanity, and personal application as Manchester by the Sea. It's not the feel-good holiday treat you may be looking for at this time of the year, but considering how family and tragedy essentially go hand-in-hand, Lonergan's scholarly study on the personal crisis will help countless others in what to do about a similar trauma.

Hence, I encourage all to see this masterful, humbling work when they get the chance to, but not just with anyone, with the relatives they are the closest to. That way, you can walk out of the theater together sharing the tears of your worst and best memories. If more movies had the power to do that, then Hollywood would at last be restored to its former glory.
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1/10
2hrs 10minutes of misery I will not get back
borisacat21 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This ruined my day. I suppose I should have checked before going , and then I would have avoided seeing dead children , dying and dead young father, everyone choking back tears all through the film , flat, slow, tedious script.

An unremitting wallow in misery and bereavement. I observed 2 moments when the woman next to me chuckled: one was when a 16yo boy whose father is in a freezer at the undertakers gets acutely upset when he finds a frozen chicken in the fridge. She must have one dark sense of humour.

Very good acting and production , but who would have anything to do with a script like this? I spent the last 90mins praying for it to stop.

I suppose this might make a good training film for bereavement counsellors
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1/10
A Dreadful Bore
rtm2007-894-34486316 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Perhaps one of the worst films to start the year off with; the film began simply enough, with a few flash backs and a few references to general guiding story lines of the movie, but then it all went downhill from there. In this film, there is not really a climax, nor really any kind of action/plot at all. It is basically Affleck avoiding his past when he has to go and take care of his brother's kid, who is just another awkward twist to the movie. The kid is an egomaniac, who has two girlfriends, is a general jacka** to everyone, and is generally obnoxious during the whole movie. The part that really got me, and several other people who left the movie before it ended (I stayed hoping it was going to get better) was the extremely awkward scenes, or the awkward persona of Casey Affleck. There would be minutes of just sitting around, which became common enough that about 40% of the film is just awkward conversation or awkward encounters, which is probably why such a film with no actual substance lasted a horrifying 2 hours long. And then to top it all off, the Bostonian ethnicity shared by everyone in the movie made every conversation appear like an argument, with great amounts of language, which although trying to accurately portray the regional people, became more of an ear sore for those who can have conversations without abysmal amounts of language.

I would give it a 2/10 for the occasional laugh that it gave, but for 2 hours of screen time, I can't find a reason why it would deserve it.

(This film is highly rated on this website, but me and most people I have talked to who have seen it all agree it was not that great. It definitely was not a highlight film, so perhaps those who did see it are refreshed by some of the themes? Regardless, I did not enjoy the film, and will be seeing La La Land to make up for it tomorrow.)
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1/10
Could Have Watched a Re-Run on TV rather than This Pile
RickCritic25 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Dead in the water best describes this movie. Boring from beginning to end.

Spoiler Alert - I watched the whole movie hoping for something exciting to happen however, there is no apparent climax to the story - it just drones on and on to the end. That's it, the relief you feel having it end, is the climax.

Michelle Williams nominated for Best Supporting Actress for about 5 minutes of screen time with little dialogue - not bad work if you can get it. Her real role in the movie was to provide her name to the list of credits. She is rather cute too so the movie has that going for it.

In one of the rare scenes where Williams and Affleck appeared together, their engagement in a dialogue of half spoken sentences interrupting each other was lame and probably ad-libbed.

Casey Affleck played the part of a severely depressed person well, but the role was not that challenging - Jim Carey could have performed it equally as well. I liked Casey in The Finest Hours where the role had more dialogue and the movie was far more exciting and entertaining.
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1/10
Bad movie - don't waste your money
ken-996-25086119 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
If you want to see Casey Affleck stare silently for two hours, this movie is for you--if not, then go see Rogue One. This is a slow moving, terrible movie. I don't see how it ever got produced. The dialog is thin and would never fly in a novel. The editors would reject it immediately. I can't believe it's been nominated for anything. It's a snooze. Lots of long scenes with no dialog...at first I thought the camera had frozen. It starts slow, has no real middle part, and a bad ending. This movie should never have been made. If you take out all the silence and staring, you'd have a 30 minute movie at most.

I don't usually pan a movie this severely, but it's just bad. The fact that it's "critically acclaimed" has no effect on my opinion. To me, it's one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It's obvious they shot it on digital media, because no one would waste this much actual film. 1 star is a gift on this one. Pass it by.
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1/10
A movie to slit your wrists to!
ken_bethell31 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
As I always make an annual ritual of watching the Oscar contenders last night I gave 'Manchester' a viewing. What can one say? My wife and I sat through XXX minutes (whatever it was it seemed an eternity) of one of the most excruciatingly depressing movies I can remember. The narrative made no attempt to redeem itself with any 'feel good' content - it was a movie to slit you wrists to! Our lead character played by Casey Affleck spends the entire movie in an unsuccessful attempt at redeeming himself for having been negligently responsible for the deaths of his three children in a house fire and that is as good as it gets! The director annoyingly kept inter-mingling past and present to such a degree that you were trying to spot things to establish some kind of time line. There was an early scene where our main man tries to grab an officer's weapon to kill himself at the police station. Boy, don't you wish he had succeeded!
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2/10
Manchester by the Sea
larann29 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
My husband & I just watched this movie and I cannot believe how bad this is. Characters are so unlikeable, the score is distracting and awful, story is terrible. I was so disappointed since this is an Oscar nominated movie for the film and for the actors. The acting was not good. A total waste of time and not entertaining at all. The only promising thing I can say about the movie is the scenery. The town is right next to the ocean and is really pretty. The only likable character is the brother who dies at the beginning. I usually don't take the time to review a movie but this one is so bad, I just had to put my thoughts on this site.
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1/10
This film another reason to be turned off Hollywood
chaitov5 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Besides the rants of so called Hollywood "stars" like Madonna,Ashley Judd, Cher,Whoopie Goldberg,Manchester By The Sea has confirmed my belief that Hollywood movies have reached the lowest denominator in years. I expected a great movie considering all the acclaim by reviewers.It is a boring,unimaginative,slow moving,depressing,film that a middle or high school student could do for a class project to show how not to make a movie. Casey Affleck is a terrible actor.Most of the time he stares into space with little dialogue.And suddenly he's smashing someone in the face.There's no depth to this script and no character development either. I kept yawning about to doze off and looking at my watch. The cinematography is good but if I wanted a travelogue about the Boston & surrounding towns in winter,this would be appropriate for that alone. The baroque music just added to the depressing qualities in this film. It never lets up.There are no redeeming features for this film. It should be tossed in the garbage heap never to be heard from again.Please ,don't waste your money & if curious watch it at home on Netflix.
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6/10
An overrated ordinary movie
archanavr7 April 2017
Manchester by the sea should have been a good movie if the director have worked a little on the story and screenplay. Casey Affleck have given his all time good performance. But then the story doesn't have any strong points which can hold the audience back to their seat. At times the director tried to bring teary emotions to the characters but that seemed not to interest viewers. This is an ordinary movie with the writer trying to put tragedies in between to steam up emotions but that fail to capture audiences' heart. Other than the matured acting by Casey Affleck the movie doesn't have much good points to be proud of.
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