Thursday, July 27, 2017

Manchester by the Sea - Movie Review

Lonely janitor Lee Chandler, a man who speaks little and socialises little, is a recluse. He is touchy, gets into fights at the slightest provocation but puts his heart and soul into his job. When he hears that his brother Joe is in hospital, he takes leave and goes to see him at his hometown Manchester. By which time Joe dies and leaves him his teenage son to guard. Joe's wife was an alcoholic who had left him.

But Lee hates any kind of responsibility. He does not appear the right person to give the responsibility of a teenage son to. As the lawyer tells him that his brother Joe had provided for this move and wanted Lee to take care of his son, Lee's memory goes over why he does not want to come back to Manchester. It was here that a young and happy Lee, in a drunken mistake, burned down his house and with it his three children. He could not get over it and after his separation from his wife, lives alone, away from Manchester, immersed in his work, unfeelingly.

The new responsibility thaws him a bit. Lee makes peace with his growing nephew, and also with his ex-wife Randi. In the end, he stays with his nephew - something he was not willing to do because Manchester reminded him of his past.

The scene where Randi meets Lee and asks him his forgiveness for her being so harsh on him is superb in its writing and execution. Casey Affleck is brilliant as Lee and fully deserved his Academy award. Ken Lonergan the writer and director won the Academy award for best screenplay. Brilliant.  Slow, searing, intense.   

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