Kenneth Lonergan"s story of New England handyman coming to terms with his past – & raising his nephew – is a stone-cold instant classic

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"No film this year has moved me more" – read Peter Travers four-star đánh giá on Kenneth Lonergan"s instantly classic drama "Manchester by the Sea."Claire Folger/Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions

You can’t really prepare yourself for the emotional powerhouse that is Manchester by the Sea. & you shouldn’t let big-mouth critics & friends tell you too much about what’s ahead in writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s transcendent benchmark. No film this year has moved me more with its humor, heart & humanity.

I will say this much: Lonergan’s script – a model of exceptional screenwriting without being tidy, timid or tactful – concerns the ramifications of a family tragedy, one that extends from those directly involved lớn the community that alternately offers và withholds nurturing support. Engrave the name Casey Affleck on the Oscar for Best Actor right now, so extraordinary & engulfing is his performance as Lee Chandler, a Boston janitor called back to lớn his Massachusetts hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea when his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler, superb) dies of congestive heart failure. In the recent past, Lee had been brutally whacked by life, seeking escape in the rote duties of fixing sinks, unclogging toilets & starting bar fights with strangers who look at him sideways. His one human connection is his brother, who runs a commercial fishing boat and tries to raise his son, Patrick (Lucas Hedges, in a livewire, star-is-born performance), a randy 16-year-old whose main concerns are sex, hockey and his rock band. Patrick’s alcoholic mother (Gretchen Mol) had long ago deserted her family. Now Lee has been named the boy’s guardian, a job for which this self-loathing, self-punishing handyman is singularly unsuited.

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In an ordinary movie, these plotlines would converge with aching familiarity. Not here. Lonergan fills Manchester with disorderly sprawl, a sense of life as it’s lived & not manufactured by Hollywood. With brilliant contributions from cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes and composer Lesley Barber, the film lets us experience Lee as he closes himself off from the world. Affleck has been outstanding before, notably in Gone Baby Gone và his Oscar-nominated turn in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but these are his finest two-plus hours on screen. In flashbacks that allow Lonergan khổng lồ double back in time và viewers to lớn see characters before trauma defined them, Lee is introduced as a charming bad boy, a sexually playful husband khổng lồ Randi (Michelle Williams) và doting dad lớn their three young children. Then the unthinkable happens, và their marriage ends. In a movie of shattering moments, a chance meeting on the street between Lee và Randi will wipe you out. It’s a scene you won’t forget. Ever. Williams, radiating ferocity & feeling, hits a new peak as a performer, và she and Affleck dig into their roles with every fiber of their being. This is acting of the highest caliber.


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