‘Manchester By The Sea’ absolutely floored me. Kenneth Lonerghan has written and directed a movie that is essential viewing. Through a beautifully written screenplay and performances that felt so real like you were experiencing these events with the characters, ‘Manchester By The Sea’ is not only the best film of 2016 but a really important one too.
Our main character Lee Chandler lives a solitary life in Quincy, Massachusetts in Boston when he receives a call plunging him straight back to his old hometown Manchester in New Hampshire. We flick from the past to the present seeing Lee in a dramatically different light in each waiting with baited to breath for the revelation of what happened to him. How did this truly happy outgoing man turn into an empty shell? ‘Manchester By The Sea’ has some truly harrowing scenes that are not for the faint of heart even though it tries to balance it with some humour. I hope you decide to see it and stomach through though because it deserves it.
While you could say that overall the plot moves at a slow pace not at one point was I disinterested or bored. I truly cared about not only what happened to these characters externally but how they affected each other positively or negatively as well. This is in large part due to the mesmerising performances given by Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges and Kyle Chandler.
Casey Affleck completely transformed into his role as Lee Chandler. If ever there was a time to say that he has finally escaped his brothers shadow, it is now! The nuances of his performance was breathtaking. I can’t talk about the other character’s plot without spoiling so I will focus on their performances only. Michelle Williams broke my heart with a truly memorable scene that will stay with me forever. I can’t overstate how much Lonerghan and these actors nailed relationships between real people and how much more tragically beautiful it made the film. Lucas Hedges has a great career ahead of him with this being undoubtedly a breakthrough performance. I can’t wait to see what he does next. I imagine he has all the choice in the world after that performance. Kyle ‘Chandler’ (the irony) has impressed before in the Netflix series ‘Bloodline’ and ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ but I think this is his best performance to date.
The cinematography was very interesting. During small conversations between small groups of characters the camera was very tight and personal but then when dramatic events would take place the camera was much further away giving shots an epic feel which only heightened the shocking scenes taking place. Jody Lee Lipes and Lonerghan did a great job capturing the feel of each scene.
The soundtrack in ‘Manchester By The Sea’ was perfect and hit all the right emotional points masterfully. Rarely am I watching a film and thinking about the soundtrack and if I am it’s because it is either distracting or expertly woven into the film with precision and care.
‘Manchester By The Sea’ is beautiful and tragic both at the same time with enough humour to stop it being a miserable drag. The film balances all of this perfectly, presenting a portion of these characters lives truthfully and honestly. I cannot express how much I want people to see this film. In an industry full of cash ins and regurgitated plots we have already seen, cinematic experiences like this need to be applauded and appreciated.