Kenneth Lonergan has managed to score a double (You Can Count on Me), a home run, (Margaret) and now a triple/near homer with his latest feat, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. It is so rare in American filmmaking for an artist to take the tragic view of life and serve it up in a manner that is as real as it is non-melodramatic. But that is what Mr. Lonergan, pictured below, has accomplished here.
TrustMovies does not mean that the filmmaker has given us anything like the old-fashioned tragic hero out of classical literature: the-great-man-brought-down-by-hubris etc. Still, there is no getting around the fact that Lonergan's view of the lives of us humans is seen through the tragic lens -- from the inevitable end that awaits us all to the particulars of the lives lived beforehand.
Our protagonist, played with a strange and riveting combination of anger, strength and humility by a never-better Casey Affleck (shown below), as well as the characters who surround him, are all living with the pain and stigma of a muddled-yet-still-striving life. And for all the darkness here, what makes the film so fulfilling and wonderful is how much life and joy, humor and depth the filmmaker is able to bring to the proceedings. As an all-over experience, Manchester by the Sea is as rich and it is riveting.
Michelle Williams, above), and brother to Joe (Kyle Chandler, below, left) and uncle to Joe's son Patrick (played in the younger version by Ben O'Brien, and in the older by Lucas Hedges, the latter shown two photos below, right). We also meet Joe's addiction-prone wife (a fine Gretchen Mol) and, briefly, the fellow she ends up with (Matthew Broderick). You could not ask for better performances from any of these actors.
Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions and running a long but vivid 137 minutes, the film -- which opened in New York and Los Angeles two weeks previous and is opening nationwide now and in the weeks to come -- hits South Florida this Friday, December 2 in nine locations, with further Florida openings the following Friday, December 9. Wherever you are, to find your nearest theater, simply click here.