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Manchester by the Sea

Lee Chandler, played by Casey Affleck in the best male performance I have seen so far this year, works as an apartment maintenance man in Quincy MA. One day, he receives the news that his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has died, and as part of the will, has left Lee the financial means to be guardian of his nephew Patrick (played by Lucas Hedges). Lee returns to Manchester and to a history that slowly unfolds in flashbacks. The movie is quite powerful and emotionally moving. Affleck gives the performance of his career as a man who is completely overwhelmed by grief. The other performances by Chandler, Hedges, and Williams (who plays Lee’s ex-wife) are also superb. The cinematography is great, and the musical score is very interesting and quite varied in its tone and moods that match the emotions of the characters. The movie’s story is somber and sad but also manages to find a lot of laughs (you wonder if you should be laughing!). The film represents storytelling at its finest and explores the deep psychological connections and disconnections that form the characters in the story. Really huge thumbs up from me for a film that is at the top among my favorite movies. Some people might find it a bit slow, but every scene is important and packed with emotion. The director and writer created characters who are genuine and who we get to know as though we were becoming friends with them. For these characters, I gladly gave the time it takes for that to happen.

About Gary Burkholder

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