Manchester By The Sea ***

Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s absorbing drama has a chilly yet beautiful setting; it’s notable that none of the characters acknowledge how beautiful the town they inhabit is, their minds are clearly on other, more personal things. Casey Affleck plays Lee, a janitor who travels back to his hometown and reluctantly agrees to take charge of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges) when his brother (Kyle Chandler) dies. Despite the billing for Michelle Williams, this is a guy-to-guy film, and the prominent emotion described is remorse; around the midpoint, a moment from Lee’s earlier life is clarified to sobering effect. Manchester By The Sea is long and involved, but for those willing to submit to the strong themes and power-house acting, albeit in a minor key, it provides a emotionally resonant slice of drama.


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