Dienstag, 24. Januar 2017


Title: Manchester by the Sea
Running Time: 137 min
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Matt Damon had big plans for "Manchester by the Sea". After pitching writer Kenneth Lonergan the idea for a script and immediately falling in love with its first draft, he decided he did not only want to produce, but also direct and star in this film. But Damon is a busy man and the production of "The Martian" and his fourth "Bourne" outing brought production of this movie to a halt. To make sure the film got made, he handed the director's chair to Lonergan, but said he would only give up the leading role for one actor: Casey Affleck. Well, Affleck took the role and Damon was left "just" producing the film. And as good of an actor as Matt Damon, it seems like it was the right decision.
"Manchester by the Sea" is an emotional drama that stands and falls with the leading man's performance, and Casey Affleck absolutely kills it in this role. The story revolves around a lonesome man, Lee, from Boston who unexpectedly becomes the guardian of his nephew when his brother dies of a heart disease. On top of all the struggle that usually comes with such a situation, the boy lives in Lee's old hometown, a place that he deliberately moved away from to escape his most painful memories.
Kenneth Lonergan's screenplay is beautiful, unpolished and real. Not one scene is romanticized or overly dramatized. People in real-life just don't go out and have outbursts all the time, and thus, a lot of moments in this film play out less pompous than you think. Sometimes they are somewhat awkward and at multiple points even unexpectedly funny. It is a script that doesn't cry for your attention, it earns it. Lonergan creates tension by having his characters share very little about their feelings through the dialogue, having their repressed emotions build up over timeThrough a pointedly use of flashbacks he then withholds or reveals information in a way that maximizes their effectiveness.
This also means, of course, that the script calls for great actors that can display all those hidden emotions non-verbally, and Affleck is absolutely perfect for that. It just takes one look in his eyes to see all the pain that lies behind them. His portrayal of Lee is subtle, nuanced and yet endlessly expressive. The character is a hugely withdrawn person, but Affleck evokes so much empathy for him, that when he finally opens up, even just a little bit, it hits you. And it hits you hard. It is an absolutely masterful and heartbreaking performance. His Academy Award nomination is more then deserved, and so would be a win. All of the members of his supporting cast however are on the top of their game as well (Hedges and Williams also with Oscar nominations), and so when the characters interact, it feels like you are watching actual people.
"Manchester by the Sea" is an incredibly effective drama that is as genuine as it gets. Although it is a very sad film, it takes time to give you enough light moments in between so that the sadness you are left with is one that makes you appreciate the good things in your life. Come for Affleck's performance. Stay for the wonderful story. You will not regret it.

For Fans Of:
Locke (2013)
Wild (2014)
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
Up In The Air (2009)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

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