Rated: R for language throughout and some sexual content. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: November 15, 2016 Released by: Roadside Attractions
Playwright, director and writer Kenneth Lonergan has made a soul-stirring experience set in the Bay State.
The maker of the much-maligned Margaret and the indie sensation You Can Count On Me instills a raw, naturalistic poignancy in his sweeping Manchester By The Sea which stars a never-better Casey Affleck (Out of the Furnace, Gone Baby Gone).
Every frame is composed with the utmost care and precision to enhance story and character even if naysayers might find it overlong. A serpentine tale covering the awkwardness of loss is centered around Affleck's off-the-books maintenance man Lee Chandler who has to deal with the dire ramifications of his chronically ill brother Joe, a touching Kyle Chandler of The Wolf of Wall Street. Secondary roles are afforded to the likes of Matthew Broderick, as well as Gretchen Mol, Joe's alcoholic wife. But, Lucas Hedges is crucial in this penetrating drama as Lee's edgy teen nephew and ward who happens to juggle a couple of girlfriends.
The New England setting provides quite a chilling atmosphere to render the grief and levity with bona fide authenticity which extends to rich, as well as salty conversation. Manchester By The Sea leads to a wrenching confrontation between Lee and his ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams, impactful in her few scenes) that is truly aching and may harken back to rewarding cinema by Todd Field and Robert Redford. Here, Lonergan and Affleck open up the heart of a broken man coming back to his greatest mishap with unwavering honest verisimilitude.
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