(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Manchester by the Sea is an intriguing story, but the dark tone and sadness it brings really left the ending unsatisfying for me!!!
Rating: 4 Stars
Another film from my home state of Massachusetts. This time, the setting is in the small city of Manchester-by-the-Sea. A place where I have only been once, which is a nice seaport city. That is why I am intrigued in seeing a story from a city in MA which nobody really knows about included New Englanders themselves. Especially, after all the Oscars buzz it is receiving, I knew I had to take a look.
What I Like: What I really enjoyed about this movie is the acting and interactions between all the characters. They really captured the Boston vibe with their interactions with one another which director, Kenneth Lonergan, really captured effectively. The dialogue between the characters is sensational, and the sarcasm and disputes really made it witty for me because it brings me back with a sense of home for a little bit. Especially the interaction with Lee Chandler, played by Casey Affleck (and his weird voice), and his nephew, Patrick played by Lucas Hedges. Their interactions when they are mad, awkward, or just straight up conversation is very authentic. I was also impressed in watching Michelle Williams playing Lee’s ex wife, Randi. She got the Boston accent down pack, and really demands a presence whenever she gets on screen. The story is very intriguing about Lee being inherited to be the guardian of his nephew after the death of his brother, and all the trials and tribulations he has to endure in going back to his old city. It made it interesting to watch with its simplicity of life after a death in the family.
The So So: There were scenes where it showed Lee’s memories of his past when he lived in Manchester-by-the-Sea. At the beginning it got me confused on what is going on, but once I got the drift of it, it really did enhanced the story and the characterization of Lee and how his past made him the way he is. I just wished the transitions flowed a little better structurally for the story.
What I Didn’t Like: This film really is a tragedy. It dealt with dark themes of alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide. All these dark themes really set the tone for the story. What really made it a tragedy for me is because, after Lee realized he can’t start a new life raising his nephew, he decides to run away from it again and making plans for his nephew to stay in Manchester-by-the-Sea, and him going back to Boston. It made him still live with his problems in the past with all the tragedies, and his refusal to move on. With that kind of tone of darkness and sadness really left me unsatisfied with the conclusion. It was just sad, and it continued on being sad, and I really don’t like that feeling whatsoever.
Overall: It is a good film with some good acting and direction, however, be prepared for a sad tragedy. Some people like tragedies, but for me this tragedy is unsatisfying. I can see why it got a lot of Oscar buzz, but for me, it is definitely not the best movie of the year. Maybe for the acting, though, I haven’t seen anything really spectacular. Until then, it really left a small city just really depressing!!!
Rating: 4 Stars