Manchester by the Sea
Panorama | Special Presentations
One of the highlights of this year’s Sundance, and sure to make waves come Oscar season, Manchester by the Sea is an emotional epic that navigates the choppy waters of day-to-day existence. Through the perspective of Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck in a career-best performance), the film examines a family both bound and separated by past tragedy. When his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) passes away, Lee returns to his hometown in Massachusetts with the hope of sorting out the deceased’s affairs. He becomes the guardian of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), now an orphan. Over the course of a few weeks Lee plans the funeral, sorts out the estate and looks for someone to foster Patrick; all the while he faces judgment from locals who haven’t forgotten why he flew the coop so many years earlier.
Director Kenneth Lonergan, in his follow up to 2011’s Margaret, folds transformative observations into the texture of everyday life. You can sense the calamitous history of this North Shore town in the rain, the cold gusts of wind and the overcast skies. This film stands with the greatest American movie dramas; to watch it in all of its tragedy, complexity and humour is to experience life-altering cinema.
“The persistence of grief and the hope of redemption are themes as timeless as dramaturgy itself, but rarely do they summon forth the kind of extraordinary swirl of love, anger, tenderness and brittle humor that is Manchester by the Sea.”—Justin Chang, Variety