Friday, January 20, 2017

manchester by the sea…

I went along to the Watershed this afternoon (somewhat cramped in the tiny Cinema 2 for a virtual sell-out audience – the annual Slapstick Festival takes precedence at this time of year) to see Kenneth Lonergan’s critically acclaimed film “Manchester By The Sea” (in the USA, not the one that’s home to Old Trafford!).
I don’t want to give away too much of the story but, essentially, troubled Boston-based handyman Lee (brilliantly played by Casey Affleck) has his rather sparse existence further disrupted by the death of his older brother. This forces him to return to his hometown on the Massachusetts north shore, but he is horrified to discover that that he has been appointed guardian to his16 year-old nephew, Patrick (again, excellently played by Lucas Hedges). This return to his old stomping ground provides Lee with memories of an earlier devastating family tragedy involving his ex-wife Randi (convincingly played by Michelle Williams – although I had envisaged her taking a more prominent role in the story).
Lee’s basic, depressing, lack-lustre life is a struggle. For him, life is drudgery and mere existence. He’s variously hiding his emotions or exploding in frustration. Gradually, dual timelines emerge in the film and we begin to understand the toils a little more clearly.
The film is about grief, hope and love… it’s stark, moving, comical (at times), intimate, tender and very impressive.

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