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Manchester by the Sea
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Manchester by the Sea

Premiereing at 2016’s Sundance Film Festival, Director/Writer Kennath Longerman tells the story of Boston handyman Lee Chandler. After the death of his brother Joe, Lee must return to his old home town of Manchester Massachusetts where he’s left to deal with the funeral arraignments, taking care of his 16 year old nephew, as well as attempting to cope with his past life their. Brilliantly written and wonderfully acted, this film is a real Oscar contender and definitely one to look out for.

Although featuring its share of characters, Michelle Willaims and Kyle Chandler are great in the scenes they are in, but the film predominately stars a man and a boy. Firstly the boy, Lucas Hedges does a pretty decent job as Patrick Chandler, a confident and sarcastic 16 year old who deals with his grief in his own way. Hedges is great with his sarcastically comedic performance, but he also shows a serious and emotional side of a boy about to be a man only now without the man who raised him.

Alongside Hedges is the films star Casey Affleck. Affleck shines in as the downtrodden and distant Lee Chandler. Casey’s performance is extremely contained and interior and perfectly brings to life a tragic character that you are enormously sympathetic towards, but also Affleck brings a cynical sense of humour to the role as well. This film is a character piece and Casey Affleck plays the main focus, and for what he has shown, an Oscar may be coming his way.

As well as the characters being well acted upon they are also well written. The acting and characters are great, and I believe this is hugely down to Longerman’s writing and direction.

Kennath Longermans script is outstanding, the structure is unbelievably good as the film jumps back and forth between flashback and present day seamlessly without any confusion. The structure and pace is as much down to Longerman’s directing as well as his writing, and so Longerman is two thirds of what makes this film so effective (acting being the final third). Longerman creates authentic characters and finds the right balance of both tragic drama and sarcastic and cynical humour that makes this film really effective sympathetic.

Overall, Manchester By The Sea is a fascinating yet haunting film that is well crafted on many levels. A real Oscar contender for writer director Kennath Longerman and lead actor Casey Affleck. This film will stick with you Long after you leave the theatre, and personally made me appreciate my family a lot more.