Oscar-nominated Manchester by the Sea paints powerful portrayal of despair [Review]

Lucy Christie |

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American drama Manchester by the Sea is striking for several reasons; namely because it doesn’t feel like a movie at all. Instead, it feels more like a glimpse at someone else’s life. Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is a handyman who manages a building in Boston. His life is simple if a little grim, but his steady routine is thrown into chaos as he learns that his brother has died, and he is now the sole guardian of his 16-year-old nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges).

Lee isn’t thrilled about this, and being forced back to his hometown to face people from his past makes things even harder. Both men handle the grief of losing their brother and father respectively in different ways. Lee becomes even more solitary, shunning all contact with the outside world, while Patrick embraces human contact and thrives on social interaction.

As the movie continues, flashbacks are introduced to when Lee was married, and the truth about the tragedy that turned him into a self-loathing recluse is slowly revealed.

Affleck’s performance is the standout; he gives a heart-wrenching portrayal of a man stricken by grief and despair. The dialogue is memorablFilm, film review, movie, movie review,e for the true-to-life quality it offers; at many points it almost feels unscripted. This powerfully absorbing quality sucks the viewer in and will leave a lasting impression.

Contains strong language

Edited by Ginny Wong