With the Golden Globes fast approaching (January 8, 2017) I have been making a conscious effort to see as many of the nominated movies as possible. A few weeks ago I saw Loving and last weekend I went to Manchester By The Sea. The star of the film, Casey Affleck, is already generating major Oscar buzz.
For those who aren't familiar, Manchester By The Sea is the story of a man who was living an isolated life when he learns his older brother has passed away. It was his brother's dying wish that he would move back to their hometown (Manchester By The Sea, MA) and become legal guardian to his only son, a 16-year-old boy.
The movie is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, who wrote the screenplays for Gangs of New York, You Can Count on Me and Analyze This with Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal.
*SPOILER ALERT! Do not keep reading if you do not want to know any of the details of the plot of this movie.*
Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a single guy living in Quincy, MA. He's a repair man for an apartment complex and seems to have a pretty routine, uneventful life. Soon after we've met Lee and had a glimpse into his world, he receives a phone call that his brother Joe (played by Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler) has passed away. Through a series of flashbacks we learn that Joe has been battling heart disease for years.
Joe's death leaves his teenage son, Patrick, without a guardian (we learn later what happened to his mom). Joe's will states that he wishes for Lee to be Patrick's guardian and caretaker. Patrick is played by Lucas Hedges, who you may recognize from NBC's The Slap.
From the trailers I had seen, the movie seemed to be marketed as a story of an unlikely duo (Lee and Patrick) and their journey together as they form a new family unit. The trailer is surprisingly upbeat and funny. As it turns out, the movie is not. Guys, this movie is heavy. I mean, really heavy. When the credits rolled I noticed how tight my chest felt because I had been so anxious and holding my breath for several scenes.
The movie is much less about Lee and Patrick and more about who Lee is as a person and why he moved away. I don't want to say any more than that because I think the way they reveal his personal story is incredibly well done and you should see it for yourself.
It's worth noting that Michelle Williams has a significant role and her Boston accent is dead on. It may be the best accent in the film, and we all know Casey Affleck became famous for his accent in Good Will Hunting.
If you're like me and you try to see all the nominated movies before the Golden Globes or the Oscars, you definitely have to make time for Manchester By The Sea. Just be sure to plan to do something light hearted afterwards to help you shake off the depressing feeling.