Manchester by the Sea introduces us to Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a grumpy janitor who also lacks social skills. He receives a phone call from the hospital in Manchester notifying him that his brother, Joe Chandler (Kyle Chandler) is gravely ill and he must come to the hospital immediately. Once Lee arrives at the hospital, he is notified that his brother has already passed away.
We are then introduced to Lee’s son Patrick Chandler (Lucas Hedges), who is notified by Lee of his father’s passing. From then on we encounter flashbacks that tell us more about the Chandler family and Lee’s relationship with Manchester. While planning for his brother’s funeral, Lee is notified that his brother left him guardianship of his son.
Lee is not only shocked by his brother’s last wishes but also disappointed. The interaction between Lee and Patrick is odd yet entertaining. For someone like Lee who truly doesn’t have the best social skills to have guardianship of a teenage boy is entertaining to watch. Patrick does not deal with the death of his father as you would expect a teenager to, which only leads to more bickering for him and his uncle.
While staying in town Lee runs into his ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams), and is forced to deal with the past and what led him to leave Manchester. While her role is limited in the film, Michelle Williams does well with the material given to her. Casey Affleck delivers what most will call one of the best performances of his career and will most likely earn him an Oscar nod in January.
I really enjoyed this film and the drama that came with it. For some, this film may come off boring since there are no huge plot twists except maybe one in the film. For those who are interested in dialogue and character interactions mixed with great acting this film is for you. I would recommend that you PAY to see this film in theaters.
Manchester by the Sea is in limited release now and will hit most theaters by December 16th. Head over to Fandango to see if there are showtimes in your area and to purchase tickets. Make sure to share your thoughts on the movie below.