From the opening to the closing shot, Manchester By The Sea is one of the best written depictions of depression on film. Sprinkled with bursts of dry humour and told through recurring flashbacks, this slow-paced, emotional, character-driven drama is a stunning piece of cinema that absolutely deserves it’s critical acclaim.
Reeling from a great loss in his life, further misery is thrust upon Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) when he learns his brother has died and made him sole guardian of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges). The film follows Lee’s struggle to adapt to his new life forced on him. He is a shell of the man he used to be after a great tragedy in his life and the way this is told, through numerous flashbacks, is both beautiful and shocking.
Absolutely deserving of his best Actor Oscar, Casey Affleck gives an incredible performance as Lee Chandler and although her role is a minimal one, his separated wife Randi (Michelle Williams) is equally as impressive in her role.
The music is both haunting and beautiful, complementing the mood of the film and for this drama to have so much heart and hit such emotional highs and lows whilst never consciously feeling it’s slow pace is a great achievement.
It won’t be for everyone of course, the majority of this film takes place in a few settings dotted around the town of Manchester so for those looking for a wider range of locales will be disappointed but to be honest its a minor gripe. It doesn’t detract from what an incredibly emotional film this is and Manchester By The Sea is one of the best dramas released this year.
Verdict - 9/10