Casey Affleck stars as a young man who has gone through an unbelievable trauma to his life in this film with shows that running away from your life can sometimes be the only way to survive. Afflect stars as Lee, who has left his childhood home, friends, and family when a tragedy hits his life. He has to return home when his older brother dies from Heart Disease and must look after his Nephew. This is the start of a confrontation with everyone that he left behind.
It’s the season for the award worthy movies to hit our screens and before Christmas we Reviewers are bombarded with these films. Some of these are up for their music, their cinematography, script, wardrobe, and performances. Manchester by the Sea has one huge hope in Casey Affleck. His performance here is just outstanding, it may ring familiar with some of you out there, but his style of acting fits this character perfectly. He is joined here by Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams, and young performer Lucas Hedges. Every single star of this film manages to give a natural performance but it’s Affleck that the film hinges on this role.
Lee is forced to go home again and leave his bare existence in Boston, he hasn’t been home since the breakdown of his marriage to Michelle Williams, but it all comes down on him hard when his Brother dies and leaves him as the Guardian of his nephew. The history of Lee is told through brief flashbacks through the story. We see a close family that has each others backs and have a pretty normal life in this town being shattered when a family tragedy hits.
The film making here is spot on capturing the feeling of a cold winter this town, a few other reviewers had to put their coats on as the winter scenes sent chills down their bones. It’s all down to the performances of the main leads and thankfully the stars with Affleck as the leading force do amazing work. There are no bells and whistles to this film, there are no gimmicks that they can rely on, it’s about coming home and facing the demons that you leave behind.
When the tragedy is revealed that the family go through you understand every ounce of the performance of Affleck. You see the backbone of why he ran away from this town and the reactions of everyone when they see him return. What I personally wanted to see more of was the interaction of Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck once he returned to the town. They had such a damaging past but yet a huge love for one another. The relationship between these two characters would have given us more emotion when you consider their loss.
Manchester by the Sea is a hard one to watch for all the right reasons. For me I cannot see another Actor getting the Oscar over him next February, I could be wrong, but I doubt it. A film though is more than the performances and the Writer Director here knows that. The world around the main character is so complete and down to earth that you fall into the reality of their world. There are stronger films out this year, but the outstanding Casey Affleck gives everything he’s got and elevates this film to one of the better films of the year.