Manchester by the Sea (2016) Review

Lee Chandler must return to Manchester when his brother dies to help sort out the arrangements and take care of his teenage nephew Patrick.


This film is a truly emotional drama that will constantly tug at your heartstrings in a few different ways from start to finish. It manages to keep the story on edge as well and certain moments aren’t very obvious at all. You just hope that it won’t get any worse as we delve deeper into Lee’s life or I guess that should be existence.

We are shown different moments in flashback form to help really build up the picture of Lee and why he is pretty unresponsive and constantly sad all of the time. Struggling to deal with the final wishes of his brother to take care of his nephew. Hating having to return to Manchester due to the many bad memories he has of the place. His broken down marriage being a very key event. The thing is though we are also shown some nice memories as well, which at times balances things for Lee.

Patrick is sixteen years old and at times acts a lot older than he is. Really taking advantage of his Uncle to begin with. The respect does form between the pair as they are both struggling with grief. Neither really being able to explain or talk about it, they certainly share some of the same traits.

It is a powerful film in many different ways and feels very real, which sometimes is pretty frightening at times. But we all have to at some point in our lives deal with grief and losing someone we really love. The film demonstrates how it can affect you at different ages and stages of your life. It does manage to have some rather amusing moments as well at times, even just a comment to lighten the mood. That is something that we do as well for each other in life when someone is at lowest point due to sadness.

Casey Affleck really is brilliant in the film, he pulls off the moody and tortured character so well. Each moment of his performance is haunting and you will be able to count on one hand the number of times he actually smiles in the film. He comes across very well with the empty and helpless nature of his character who you find yourself feeling sorry for before we even know his full story.

Considering the running time of the film is around 2 hours and 17 minutes the best compliment I can pay the film in that sense is that I did not once wonder how long it had been on or how long was left. You are consumed by it and end up emotionally involved wondering how everything was going to work out. I thought it was important to see that even though you could be filled with sadness the good memories will still come back as well, seeing the happier times that had been had.

I thought the building relationship between Lee and Patrick was very good as we get to see that once they were pretty close. It was then good to see the respect between the pair return and that they really did care about one another. I guess without saying anything they both realised that they only actually had each other left in the world. After more events have happened they both just know that and want to do the best thing possible to make the other person happy. After all no matter what you have been through, you just want to try to be happy in even the smallest possible way.

15 thoughts on “Manchester by the Sea (2016) Review

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