Manchester by the Sea Movie Review
Casey Affleck delivers an award-worthy performance and writer/director Kenneth Lonergan serves up another award-worthy drama in Manchester by the Sea, one of the best movies of 2016.
Affleck does what he does best, playing a quiet, emotionally scarred man who is just trying to function after suffering a horrific tragedy. He’s absolutely terrific as he masters the complexities of a complex character, a man forced to face his demons head-on while neither willing nor able to. The rest of the cast is excellent as well, with Lucas Hedges delivering a strong performance and Michelle Williams, though given little screen time, nailing every scene she’s in.
Manchester by the Sea is a serious movie, even a depressing one, but Lonergan tackles the material in a way that pulses with emotion while avoiding a slide into suicidal territory, a dark, unpleasant place that a less skilled filmmaker could have easily found himself in. The movie is serious, yes, but Lonergan finds a surprising amount of humor in the story. The result is a grounded, believable production that unfolds organically.
The movie thrives on the dynamic between Affleck and Hedges, who plays his nephew. Hedge’s character deals with tragedy in a completely different way than Affleck’s, and it’s fascinating to see the two interact with and respond to one another.
Manchester by the Sea is a powerful, must-see drama. Affleck delivers one of the best performances of his career, and audiences are rewarded with one of the best movies of the year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.