Manchester by the Sea is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming on Amazon.com
I finally got to see Manchester by the Sea, with a couple of my girls, at a small independent campus theater in either Cleveland, Ohio to Covington, Kentucky. (I don’t remember which because I don’t remember which side of the river we were on.)
No wonder it was nominated for six Academy Awards. I may even watch the awards this year, just to see if it wins.
Exquisitely drawn vistas of coastal Massachusetts and New England in winter, along with the accents of the major players, firmly establish a sense of place (which is what drew me to the movie in the first place), but even these are secondary to the heart of the story revealed largely in the mind and memory of Lee Chandler.
The secondary characters, particularly nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), ex-wife Randi (Michele Williams), and older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), are well drawn and sympathetic. As Noel Murray said in the LA Times online yesterday, “writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s film is also very funny at times and filled with the stuff of life: banter, lust, familial affection and personal renewal.” It is, and that’s part of our way in, because we can identify with, and shake our heads over, that “stuff of life.”
But what makes that wild and blue feeling in your chest is Lee Chandler. Casey Affleck is absolutely stunning as Lee, inhabiting the character with a depth and richness that makes him, at the same time, larger than life and just another ordinary, flawed person.
No spoilers from me (there’s a reason they’re called “spoilers”), but I will say this:
The heart of Manchester by the Sea wasn’t at all what I expected, and it didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but what occurs in between sinks into your chest and takes your breath away. You feel your heart try to tear itself out of your chest . . . especially if you’ve ever wished with everything in you that you could, just this once, turn back time and take back just one mistake.