Today on Elliot is Pissed: Manchester by the Sea is so realistic it might as well be a documentary.
There are few movies that capture every day dialogue as well as Manchester by the Sea does, and it makes it one of the most memorable movies of 2016. Set in the small Massachusetts town of Manchester, this film explores the life of Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a man with a painful past, who must take care of his nephew after his father dies. This plot idea is not unusual in many dramas, but the way that Kenneth Lonergan executes his film, makes the experience quite unique.
Like I said earlier, the dialogue in this film is so genuine, and hits the beats of every day life so well. There’s a moment where Lee is on the phone with a school principal, and there is a lot of delay between the two phones so the conversation becomes very awkward. The film also jumps a lot between the present and past with flashbacks, but it jumps in moments that make sense. It jumps in the same way we as people often ponder past experiences, like when driving down an empty road with nothing interesting going on, one can let their mind wander to different places, and ponder their individual pasts, and Manchester by the Sea nails it every time.
Casey Affleck’s performance is nothing short of fantastic. His character so reserved as a person, and it’s always evident that he is trying his hardest to keep it together, but he’s always on edge. His nephew Patrick, played by Lucas Hedges, is also brilliant. He counteracts Lee’s reserved presence with humor, wit, and desire to surround himself with the people he cares about.
Kyle Chandler and Michelle Williams portray Lee’s brother and wife, and while their screen time is limited, their scenes are very powerful, and stick with the viewer way beyond the scene.
The cinematography is also spectacular, showcasing the gorgeous scenery of northern Massachusetts, both in the summer and winter. Even when it’s freezing, it seems like a place worth visiting.
This movie is a little too long, but the story that Manchester by the Sea tells is not one to miss out on, and when it ends, you wish there was so much more.
Today, Elliot is filled with hope.