Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea ★★★★

I can’t quite pinpoint what this movie is. It’s obviously full of grief, trauma and an unbearable amount of pain but there’s something very particular about it. There’s some quality it had that didn’t make me feel like crying. The story felt so overwhelming that I honestly was just worried about the characters the way I am when I see an old friend or family member that I haven’t seen in a while and it’s obvious they’re not doing well. I feel like I’ve said it a thousand times before, but my favorite type of story is any story that deals with crisis. Not just a bump in the road type of problem, rather a full blown personal crisis for the characters. 

The main character Lee (played spectacularly by Casey Affleck who rightfully won the Oscar) seemed exhausted. It was as if he was so tired, and beaten, and numb to the unreal amount of trauma he experienced that he couldn’t even be “sad.” I just felt bad for the guy. I’ve seen people who have lost literally everything in their lives and this is pretty much how they act. Sometimes they don’t talk, they don’t connect, they’re just kind of there. It so cliche to say “oh this drama I just watched was so real”...but this movie was unbearably honest. 

I loved the jumping back and forth in time to show Lee’s past, it revealed just enough information to make me understand him and many of the most powerful scenes in the film are presented this way. The location where this was shot, as well as the cold winters season it was shot in added another layer of numbness to the tone of the film. The performances from Hedges and Williams were absolutely top-notch. And the score worked perfectly here.

Overall, “Manchester by the Sea” is more than a gut punch. It’s a cold display of loss, pain, tragedy and trauma. However, and maybe this was just me, I couldn’t help but feel like this film had a quiet amount of hope by the end. It didn’t feel like our main character was ever going to stop bleeding so to speak, but it did feel like he wanted to. And that’s a start. 

And P.S. I used to be a maintenance man for an apartment complex, and not all of our lives are this god damn dramatic lol


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