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Manchester by the Sea

Directed by Kenneth Lonergan

USA, 2016

HOME, 21 January 2017

A guy, Lee Chandler is his name – he is called Chandler but in the film we see him reading Hammett, The Thin Man, I think: a nice touch – returns home following the death of his brother.

He intends to stay there for a few days for the funeral, a week at most, then learns that he has been appointed the guardian of his nephew, his brother’s son. The plan laid out in the will, a lockdown conceived by the dead brother, is to make the move permanent.

Thing is, Lee cannot do it: he has a history in this town, Manchester. A bad thing happened to him and to those close to him, and people look at him in a certain way. Hell, he looks at himself in the same merciless way, his judgement being that he is damned, worthless, unworthy of forgiveness. He is damaged goods, riddled with guilt, prone to self-destructive behaviour. Some people are broken and cannot be fixed, that is just the way it is; and Lee is one of them.

Casey Affleck as Lee is tremendous here – he breaks your heart ten times over. He is a very fine actor indeed.