Manchester by the Sea (2016), Dir. Kenneth Lonergan

Manchester by the Sea (2016), Dir. Kenneth Lonergan
I’m just a back up.
— Lee, Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Stars: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, Gretchen Mol, Tate Donovan, Kara Hayward, Anna Baryshnikov, Matthew Broderick, Heather Burns, C.J. Wilson.
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan

I don't know how this was going to be a Matt Damon film when everything bleeds Casey Affleck. Lee drives back to his home town Manchester as his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has just died from a preexisting cardiac disease. There are reasons Lee only visits home every time his brother is in hospital as his demons are around every corner of his town. Joe has left behind a 16 year old son Patrick (Lucas Hedges) so Lee temporarily moves into Joe's home to look after Patrick.

This film could be like any other film about coming back to your town after something traumatic has happened  to do your duty for the family but this isn't like any of those films at all. Manchester by the Sea flows like the water as it transfixes you with its movements as it hits the sides of your boat in the harbour. It moves from one part of the story to another and back again. There is no let up on the rhythm so while you are calmly moved from one part to another there is no relief and you must focus on every part of the story.

This is a particular film that I could have kept on watching for a few more hours. Not to see where the story would head next, not even to spend more time with the characters but to stay within the feeling that Lonergan has built. He has somehow built the feeling of life that keeps moving and you don't know quite how to keep pace with the rhythm—much like Patrick's unrhythmic drummer. It feels like reality, every emotion and human is just as real as the snow on the ground and breaths in the air.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★