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!).
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).
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
The film is about grief, hope and
love… it’s stark, moving, comical (at times), intimate, tender and very impressive.
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