7.8/10
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Manchester by the Sea (2016)

R | | Drama | 16 December 2016 (USA)
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A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.

Director:

Kenneth Lonergan
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Popularity
599 ( 25)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 124 wins & 246 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Casey Affleck ... Lee Chandler
Ben O'Brien ... Young Patrick
Kyle Chandler ... Joe Chandler
Richard Donelly Richard Donelly ... Mr. Martinez (1st Tenant)
Virginia Loring Cooke Virginia Loring Cooke ... Mrs. Groom (2nd tenant)
Quincy Tyler Bernstine ... Marianne (3rd Tenant)
Missy Yager ... Mrs. Olsen (4th Tenant)
Stephen McKinley Henderson ... Mr. Emery
Ben Hanson Ben Hanson ... Lenny - the bartender
Mary Mallen ... Sharon
Lewis D. Wheeler ... 1st Businessman at Bar
Anthony Estrella Anthony Estrella ... 2nd Businessman at Bar
C.J. Wilson ... George
Susan Pourfar ... Nurse Irene
Robert Sella Robert Sella ... Dr. Muller
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Storyline

Lee Chandler is a brooding, irritable loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. One damp winter day he gets a call summoning him to his hometown, north of the city. His brother's heart has given out suddenly, and he's been named guardian to his 16-year-old nephew. As if losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren't enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Manchester by the Sea See more »

Filming Locations:

Lynn, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$256,498, 20 November 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$47,695,120, 21 April 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$62,201,310, 19 March 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film distributed or co-distributed by a streaming service - in this case, Amazon - to get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. See more »

Goofs

Lee is shown purchasing beer in a convenience store at 2 AM. In Massachusetts it is illegal for a store to sell beer after 11 PM. See more »

Quotes

Patrick: I got two girlfriends and I'm in a band.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In Australia, the film was originally passed MA-15+ uncut, however the distributors opted to re-edit the audio and cut the length of the film, in order to remove every use of the term 'c-t' and 'motherf--er'. Following these changes the film was later re-classified and the rating was lowered to 'M'. See more »

Connections

Referenced in PWN: Best of 2016: PWN #12 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Beginning To See The Light
Written by Duke Ellington, Don George, Johnny Hodges, and Harry James
Performed by The Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece of family angst
26 January 2017 | by bob-the-movie-manSee all my reviews

Wow! I'd heard all about the Oscar hype surrounding this film but to be honest, while I thought I would be seeing a solid and well-made indie film, I went into it without great expectations of having an 'enjoyable' time: the trailer had "angst" written all over it. And – sure – it is emotional and harrowing in places. However, I was completely knocked out by the depth, the intelligence and the humour of this masterpiece.

'Family troubles' is a common trope for the movies, and I was strongly reminded at times in watching this movie of a multi-Oscar winning classic of my youth: Robert Redford's "Ordinary People" back in 1980. In that film the relationship between parents (Mary Tyler-Moore and Donald Sutherland) and their teenage son (Timothy Hutton) is rocked by the accidental death of another family member. Similarly, in "Manchester by the Sea" a drifting handyman Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck, "Triple 9", "Interstellar") gets the shocking news that his only brother Joe (Kyle Chandler, "The Wolf of Wall Street") has suddenly passed away, leaving behind a mid-teens son Patrick (Lucas Hedges) with no-one to look after him.

With the other option being an unstable and ex-alcoholic mother Elise (Gretchen Mol) – now divorced and living in a strictly pious household with new husband Jeffrey (Matthew Broderick) – Joe has legally plumped for naming Lee as the boy's guardian. This is much to Lee's surprise and annoyance. For Lee is a man-adrift: an antisocial loner with a very short fuse. Having any sort of responsibility is not in his game plan.

With the ground too frozen to bury his brother, Lee is forced to remain in Manchester-by-the-Sea for a few weeks: a town he can't stand and a town that, for some reason, can't stand him. Can Lee's attitude be softened by his lively and over-sexed nephew? Or will he just continue his emotional and social decline towards a gutter and a brown-bag? Where this film surprises – with a strong kick to the gut – is that while I have described the high-level story in the paragraphs above that the trailer depicts, there is a whole other dimension to the tale that is hidden and truly astonishing. No spoilers, but if you are not shocked and moved by it, then you need your humanity chip reset.

Casey Affleck is Oscar-nominated now for Best Actor and I would love to see him win for this. I had a real go at his brother, Ben, for a lack of facial variation in his performance in "Live By Night". Here, while Casey has a similar dour and pretty rigid demeanour, his performance is chalk-and-cheese compared to Ben. He channels a shut-down rage in his eyes that is both haunting and disturbing in equal measure.

Young Lucas Hedges – overlooked by the BAFTAs (he is in the "Rising Star" category) but yesterday nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar – is equally strong, burying his teenage grief in guitars, sex and smart phones in a highly believable way.

Supporting roles are equally strong, with Michelle Williams – albeit only having limited screen time – delivering truly memorable scenes, notably the street encounter with Lee (as featured on the poster) which is electrifying. She is also Oscar nominated for the role.

What really makes these performances shine is the elegant directing by Kenneth Lonergan, better known for his screenplays on films like "Analyze This" and "Gangs of New York". He gives the actors time… lots of time. A typical example is when young Patrick walks into Lee's bedroom and stares at some photos on his bedside table before walking on. It must be a good 20 to 30 seconds used, but time really well spent. The film spectacularly uses flash-backs to great effect, with the only visual notification that you are in a different time-zone being the living and breathing appearance of Joe in the shot.

Lonergan also writes the screenplay, and I mentioned in my introduction the humour used. There are some outright belly laughs in this film, which feels incongruous with the morbid subject matter but which also feels guiltily appropriate (we've all surely had an experience where a tense funeral mood is lightened by an uncle loudly farting at the back of the church, or similar!).

Manchester-by-the-Sea is a picturesque place in Massachusetts, and the camera work by Jody Lee Lipes ("Martha Marcy May Marlene", "Trainwreck") lovingly makes use of that. There is incredibly crisp focus, with the opening boat scene looks like it is hyper-HD.

This is a truly stunning film, and one that will live with me for many years to come. For that reason it receives my highest accolade together with my best wishes for success at the forthcoming Oscars. If you haven't yet, go see it.

(For the graphical version of this review please visit bob-the-movie-man.com or search for One Mann's Movies on Facebook.)


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