Manchester By The Sea is taking this American Cinema award season by storm…literally. With award-winning performances by Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges, the audience is taken on the journey of what it feels like to have to go back home when a tragedy strikes.
After losing everything, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) becomes content with living the simple, one-room existence of being a maintenance man for apartment buildings. When his brother’s heart finally gives out, he is forced to go home. Already uncomfortable with facing the past that made him flee in the first place, Lee now has become guardian of his 16 year-old nephew, which comes with its own special set of challenges.
It’s a story that every family can relate to and that is why I feel it has struck a golden chord or emotion for audiences nationwide.
It’s a strange feeling for Lee — to be needed. The film follows the awkward pair as they grieve for Joe (Kyle Chandler), adjust to the routine of living together and wrestle with Lee’s reluctance to commit to staying with Patrick.
It’s almost halfway through the film that the reason for Lee’s stony silence and emotional distance is revealed and it’s so shocking that it will take your breath away. Lee used to be a husband with a loving wife, Randi, played to perfection by Michelle Williams. He also used to be the devoted father to three young children. Then, the most random, unexpected thing happened and since then, Lee has been unable to allow himself to stop grieving. He refuses to take any pleasure in living.
As grim and unappealing as this may all sound, with any tragedy, there is always a little humor to lighten up the mood.
Bravo to Kenneth Lonergan for tackling such an intense subject, yet making it relatable and entertaining all at once.
Manchester by The Sea is in theatres nationwide NOW.