This is Casey Affleck’s movie. There is an able cast of Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges, but Affleck’s Lee Chandler is by far the dominant character who reluctantly becomes the guardian of a teenage nephew after the death of his father.
Affleck makes the most of this acting opportunity as crazy Uncle Lee and will be a contender for Best Actor. He plays a plumber/handyman who has “issues” and is called back home to Manchester when his brother (Kyle Chandler) suddenly dies from heart disease.
The teenager is skillfully played by Lucas Hedges whose resume includes parts in “Moonrise Kingdome” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” so keep your eye on this young star as he has big things ahead of him.
There’s some Oscar buzz for Michelle Williams as Best Supporting Actress but her performance is just another great character in her long list of amazing acting accomplishments; not Oscar worthy. Prediction: Her awards will come from her slated performance as Janis Joplin, a movie about the legendary singer’s life.
Quick question: who or what is the connection between two of the big movies of 2016 - “Fences” and “Manchester by the Sea?” Answer: Stephen Henderson co-stars in “Fences” with much screen time, and he has a small part as Lee Chandler’s boss in this movie.
“If you’re going to freak out, every time you see a frozen chicken, then we’re going to the hospital!” Nobody said parenting was easy.
Director Kenneth Lonergan can be proud of this movie, but his strength is in his writing. This emotionally complicated and clever screenplay of a family that has struggles that an audience can understand is more likely to be nominated than his directorial skills.
The musical score of Manchester is intriguing and appropriately eerie, sad, mysterious, and uplifting when needed. Props to Canadian Lesley Barber.
Many will find this movie too depressing and lacking of joy and humor; count me in. This film is a good example of “life is difficult.”
However, just when the mood was dragging, Ferris Bueller aka Matthew Broderick, showed up in a small part. Insert inappropriate smiles here.
“At least she’s not drinking or in a psyche ward…you know Catholics are Christians, too….”
Lonergan has created an outstanding piece of movie-making that is not a feel-good movie for the masses. If you’ve seen all the other “must see” flicks, then those of you who like a Boston/Manchester accent should put this on your list. Rock ‘n Roll.
Grade 89. Larry H.