Having been unable to go to the cinema for a painfully long time, a rare opportunity presented itself.
The title of the film does not suggest too much, but the story that lies within is strong and powerful and very moving. The story hinges on the lead character Lee Chandler, (delicately played by Casey Affleck) who seems to have the world on his shoulders. From the start of the film we feel he is this smoldering character, externally calm and controlled, but a mere touch and he explodes into an orgy of unprovoked violence, often while drinks in a nondescript bar. It is only in a latter part of the film we discover why he is carrying so much pain. A key moment in the film is when he receives a phone call. We later discover his brother has died from a rare heart disorder. The subject of death, how people react to it, the process of dealing with a death, starts to shape the story.
We then are introduced to his nephew, who seems to be taking his father’s death with an unnatural cool aloofness and seems intent of continuing his adolescent life, which involves bedding two young girls at the same time. One thing that unnerves him is the fact that his father has to be kept in a freezer, as it is impossible to inter him in the frozen ground. Sometimes there are tints of humour in this film, which is essentially defined by dark dramatic drama. The complex nephew/uncle relationship seems a key element in the film. Lee Chandler is the town’s pariah, despite this I am sure many a cinema goer would warm to his tragic circumstances. It is also a film that might make some cinema goers redefine their relationships with their family.
Let’s be clear, we live in the horrible cruel unyielding world, full of tragedy, and Manchester by Sea, is film that reinforces this point.