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The Comedy of Errors

Film Review: Manchester by the Sea

1 February 17 words: Samir Aslam

Kenneth Lonergan directs his third feature film Manchester by the Sea, in which Casey Affleck stars as Lee Chandler, a melancholy handy man who makes a living by fixing taps, boilers, and doors

Lee Chandler’s mundane routine is shaken when he is forced to become the legal guardian of his nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedge).

The plot is very delicately and meticulously revealed, in what some may call a slow burn, however the use of silence and bleakness through the film was extremely gripping and intense. The script and dialogue were told in an uber realistic way that at times almost became uncomfortable to watch in the most sincere way.

Casey Affleck has made some incredible performances throughout his career, with recent ones worthy of mention such as Gone Baby Gone and Out of the Furnace. He is quickly becoming one of the more established and respected A-listers and has certainly become far more than Ben Affleck's Younger Brother. His character in Manchester by the Sea is written as incredibly somber, a man who wants nothing to do with people and, at times, is a fairly unlikeable. However, with the naturalistic and authentic work from Affleck, you can still manage to see his character is hurting, which makes the audience ultimately sympathise with him.

On a side note, having just won the Golden Globe for Best Leading Actor for a Performance in a Drama and being nominated for the BAFTA, it's safe to say he's in for a good chance of an Oscar nomination and even win, making the Affleck's the first brothers to win an Oscar each.

Lucas Hedge has a breakout performance. He is absolutely holding his own and going the distance in this movie with an Oscar-worthy performance. His character Patrick again is very real as a damaged teenager who manages to hide behind a popular bravado at high school and part of the Ice Hockey team, also being in a band. It was an interestingly different take, as usually these types of characters are written as ‘High-School Loners’ so to see a different type of piece to this puzzle was fascinating.

Michelle Williams is always solid, however in this maybe the one complaint would be that she wasn't in it enough as every scene she was in, she was stunningly as a character equally as broken as Lee Chandler. A particular nod should go to the one on one scene between the two of them in the second half of the film, which is potentially one of the most heartbreaking, mesmerising dramatic scenes in recent memory. No bells or whistles, just two of the world’s most talented actors, delivering the performance of a lifetime. Kyle Chandler also makes an appearance as Joe Chandler, who brings a certain sense of urgency and structure to the scenes that he is in, adding a very father-like figure and sensibility to the movie.

Overall, don't go into this film expecting a barrel of laughs, but do expect to see a beautifully bleak, brutal, brilliant take on a story that feels real to the point where it'll be hard not to leave the screen without goosebumps.

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