U.S., 2016, 137 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Kenneth Lonergan, Rated R, Roadside Attractions
"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
Manchester by the Sea is Kenneth Lonergan's masterpiece about a New England handyman (Casey Affleck) dealing with the death of his brother, the unexpected guardianship of his nephew and a guilt-ridden past that won't let him go. For Affleck, it's the sort of part that lets performers play the scales, and he turns in his richest, most emotionally resonant work to date - the sort of devastating turn that doubles as a flag planted in the ground: Here stands one of the greatest actors of his generation. Expect to hear from him in the coming Oscar sweepstakes. Affleck's performance is supported by a superlative ensemble including most memorably, Lucas Hedges as Patrick, Lee's appealing, unpredictable teenaged nephew. With Manchester, selected by the National Board of Review as Best Film of the Year, Lonergan leaves the rank of gifted-playwright-turned-indie filmmaker to become a major American director, period. He gracefully uncovers, beneath the surface of Manchester's busy ordinariness, an intricate labyrinth of lies, secrets, misunderstandings and mysteries. Lonergan achieves an atmosphere of dispassionate calm dosed with bursts of sardonic humor, creating a world where everybody - in the spirit of Jean Renoir - has their reasons.