Saturday, April 15, 2017

Manchester by the Sea: Mostly Deep Valleys of Emotion

Movie Review: Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Version: Library Borrow

Manchester by the Sea won Academy Award(R) Oscars for Casey Affleck as Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay for Kenneth Lonergran. That's the best I can say for it. Sorry.

Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a down and out maintenance man at an apartment building in the rougher side of Boston. He mostly plays opposite Lucas Hedges as teenager Patrick, Lee's orphaned nephew who is left without family when his father suddenly dies. Patrick is left with his father's home and professional fishing launch in Manchester By The Sea, an hour or so up the coast from Boston, and Patrick's father has left young Patrick's care to Lee in his will. Lee isn't prepared to take on that responsibility.

Lee is full on adult angst, Patrick is full of teen angst. You find out during the long slough that is this 2 hours and 17 minutes of film that there are deep holes in Lee's life and why he isn't prepared to take on the stewardship of Patrick's life. Patrick is ready to take on life on his own terms, but what he really wants is family love and to not be left behind.

I watched the entire film looking for a reason for Casey Affleck to win Oscar for this role, but to me his performance was wooden, his emotional journey was understated. Dozens of other actors could have played Lee Chandler better. Kenneth Lonergran also directed the film. It was long, dragging for most of the film time. I don't see how it was Oscar worthy. There really was no sentimentality to the story, at least as demonstrated in the movie. It was as bleak as the Boston neighborhood in which part of it was shot. There were few rises in the drama, few peaks in the action. It was mostly deep valleys of emotion, a dark and depressing film in my eyes.

I don't like writing reviews of poor performances. But to be true to my readers, I have to tell it like it is. Maybe seeing Manchester by the Sea you will disagree with me. Let me know. Maybe I missed something. As I see it, I can't recommend this movie.

No comments: