“Boston and Buffa stand toe to toe in the ring. Buffa slips to the right and wow, Boston catches him with an uppercut and knocks him the fuck out.”-Movie Theater Commentator
Manchester by the Sea is about the ties that bind. It’s about the idea of family not holding you back but instead surrounding you in a prison. What happens when your past won’t let you breathe? Casey Affleck’s Lee Chandler can’t get beat something, and the audience has no idea what the fuck it is.
Do me a favor and don’t watch the trailer for this film. Stay away from it like it’s a dangerous rash in your crotch. Watching it will unlock the cinematic doors in your head to figuring out what is eating at Lee as he is forced to look after his brother’s kid after a death in the family. What follows is brutal and devastating. If you see this in a good mood, you’ll leave exhausted.
MBTS(yes, I’m too lazy to repeatedly write it out) puts you on a treadmill, adds an incline, and slowly raises the speed.
Imagine getting punched in the kidneys, ribs, and then the jaw. This film kicks your ass because writer/director Kenneth Lonergan doesn’t care about your feelings or if you can handle an ending that doesn’t have a neat bow tied around it.
That is the difference between a 9 million dollar indie film and a 150 million dollar June extravaganza with men and women fighting in tights. The filmmaker can play the hand any way he wants. Lonergan stays true to the characters here and creates a film full of aura, depth, and emotion.
I won’t tell you what happens when Lee returns home to look after his nephew or when he runs into people from his past. I will tell you Tate Donovan plays a hockey coach for four minutes and doesn’t make an ass of himself.
I will tell you Affleck and Michelle Williams are mesmerizing in their roles, and both deserve nominations to awards shows.
I will tell you this film doesn’t fly off the handle and restraint is key in its final act.
I will tell you Affleck and Kyle Chandler make for convincing brothers with only 3-5 scenes together.
I’ll tell you this. If you aren’t much for battles taking place on galaxies far far away or a teary eyed Will Smith have a conversation with “Death”, go watch Manchester by the Sea. It’s why I love independent cinema.
These films don’t give a shit about your feelings. They only care about quality and feeling.
I give Manchester by the Sea a rating of 5 cups of hot coffee. It will take that many before I can properly thoroughly explain it to my son.