Sunday, January 8, 2017

Manchester By The Sea (2016): Review

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This drama was absolutely fantastic, it has me crying throughout the entire thing and for this type of movie that is exactly what it should be doing. This demonstrated that it emotionally resonated with me. How the movie was shot, edited, and acted did a great job of pulling me into the story and caring about the characters, even thought this is one of those dramas that doesn't really have much happening, just giving snapshots of the lives of the main character.

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Manchester by the Sea stars Casey Afflect as Lee Chandler as man who has a troubled history who is required to come back to Manchester after his brother Joe, played by Kyle Chandler, has died and take care of his nephew Patrick, played by Lucas Hedges. The movie mainly focuses around Lee but does show the people he interacts with, it follows a current day story but jumps back to Lee's personal story (with ex-wife Randi played by Michelle Williams) and why he is detached from the world. The casting of this movie is great and the characters, even though many of them are not on screen for long (and many of them are introduced and then dropped in the narrative) get me to want to know about them and how they play into Lee and Patrick's lives. My one big complain is that there is not any time spent on a lot of the outside characters and I am unsure if this is done purposely because Lee has withdrawn from the world and most human interactions or that the movie was limited on time to really dive into the storylines of the supporting character (if this is what it was I wish that some of them were cut out because many didn't really add to what was going one).

This movie is a drama and one of those dramas that doesn't really have a traditional story structure. It is about a short timeframe in the lives of Lee and Patrick (where Lee's brother and Patrick's father has died) and doesn't feel like it has forward momentum or any real character development. The flashback and interactions with other characters shows why the characters are how they are why they make the choices they do but doesn't show any true personal growth. There is nothing wrong with this type of movie but at the end all it was about was getting to know the characters, not really cheering for them or embracing their journey.

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This film was beautifully shot and the sequences on the sea are fantastic. All of the pieces fit together for me and the pacing was consistent, it might be slow for some but it works or the overall feel of the movie. Even though characters where not shown for long, how the movie was done gets me to feel for them and connect through the scene almost immediately. No character is good or bad, they are just people trying to handle what is happening to or around them at this moment in time.  I noticed the score and music of the movie but it went with what was going on and not distracting.

Overall, this movie was fantastically done and well acted. I emotionally connected to what the characters were going though (crying thought the film) and although I wouldn't say the movie was enjoyable (due to what was happening) it was a completely well done film that is worth watching. The only real criticism I have is that I wanted to know more about what was going on with the supporting characters; how they played in later, if they were interdicted early in the movie, or more of their backstory if they were introduced later in the film.

I hope that this movie wins some of the awards it was nominated for as it was phenomenal.

My Rating: 4-

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