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Entries in Manchester by the Sea [2016] (1)

Wednesday
Nov302016

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

I have it on good authority that rogue elements within the Massachusetts Film Office are conspiring to ensure I never visit Bean Town. It’s probably a lovely city, but recent movies depict ninety percent of the guys there as rage-filled, mumbling lunkheads and the women as high-haired harpies. Even Kenneth Lonergan’s much-lauded, over-long Manchester By the Sea turns an ostensibly serious drama into “Baaah-stin”-adjacent grief porn. Casey Affleck stars as Lee, a janitor who assumes custody of his nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges), following his brother’s death. The narrative balances Lee’s own tragic past with a present that finds him randomly unleashing anger and enabling Patrick’s sullen-lothario antics. Lonergan proves himself adept at picturesque wallowing, but fails to provide a reason to care about these anthropomorphized Poor Life Choices. For once, it’d be nice to see characters mourn without resorting to the kinds of outbursts that get real people locked up.

Listen to Kicking the Seat Podcast #174 for a diametrically opposed deep-dive into Manchester by the Sea with Keeping it Reel's David Fowlie!