film reel image

film reel image

Monday, December 26, 2016

Manchester by the Sea 2016 * * * Stars

Manchester by the SeaDirector: Kenneth Lonergan
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Kyle Chandler

Manchester by the Sea is my latest review. Its title sounds like the name of a poem so I guess I'll write it as such. This is gonna be fun. OK, here goes:

Manchester by the Sea, a real tragedy.
Casey Affleck stars, Massachusetts sure looks pretty.
Affleck re-channels his inner Lonesome Jim.
There's moping and trudging with angst filled to the brim.

"Manchester" is about grieving and it feels like real life.
This is independent film making, rift with strife.
There's Bostonian accents and suicide attempts.
"Manchester" is distressing family drama as quiet as it's kept.

It's about alcoholism and bar fights and fishing boats and friends.
It's about living a banal existence, the show that never ends.
It's about uncles and nephews and coping with death.
It's about a brother slash father who takes his last breath.

It's about a boy of 16 who loses his papi.
The kid is lady-smooth and likes to play hockey.
His uncle takes over the willed, guardianship.
He has to relocate sans Boston, and it's all from the hip.

Matthew Broderick makes a cameo, the dialogue is improvisational.
"Manchester" is overlong and not always directional.
The filmmaker advocates close-ups. The flashbacks are aplenty.
There's also wide shots and depression yet sometimes it's mildly funny.

The acting is raw, with sequences that are long-winded.
Newcomer Lucas Hedges, man is he gifted.
Hedges and Affleck, their scenes really crackle.
At times they feel bleak, at times they make you cackle.

If I had to rate "Manchester", I'd give it a "B".
The critics have really embraced it and so has the Academy.
Would I call this film a masterpiece? My answer would be no.
It's a character study, a life snapshot. Heck, it's still good to go.

Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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