Manchester by the Sea
Casey Affleck gives a tortured and deserved Oscar-winning turn as a man haunted by the past who becomes guardian to his nephew.
Patrick Chandler (breakout star Lucas Hedges) is forced to live with his uncle Lee (Affleck) following the death of his father, Joe (Kyle Chandler). Lee, who had been living a near-monastic existence as a janitor in Quincy, returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea to identify his brother’s body and attempt to cope with being Patrick’s guardian in a town that holds so many painful memories. Lee had once enjoyed life with his family in the sleepy fishing port, but an event disrupted his life and forced him to leave. To Patrick, Lee is the eccentric uncle he barely knows. To Lee, Manchester can bring him no good. But his love for his brother and a promise to look after Patrick should something happen to Joe, is one that cannot be broken.
Playwright Kenneth Lonergan’s directorial debut You Can Count on Me marked him out as a strong new voice in US cinema. His subsequent drama Margaret is considered one of the great US films of the 2010s. Manchester by the Sea firmly cements his reputation. Operatic in tone, the film works in a heightened register while never betraying its grounded portrait of blue-collar life. Affleck, Hedges and Chandler are excellent, with fine support coming from Tate Donovan, Heather Burns, Gretchen Moll and Lonergan regular Matthew Broderick. And Michelle Williams is dazzling, particularly in one of the film’s rawest moments – an encounter with Lee on a street.