“Manchester by the Sea” explores the full depths of tragedy

David Rosario, Staff Writer

When someone says that they never want to see a movie again, this is usually indicative of the film’s quality and suggests that there aren’t enough redeeming qualities to justify investing time into it for a second viewing. “Manchester by the Sea” is an exception to this rule. Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a lonely handyman who’s coping with the death of his brother and tasked with looking after his 16-year-old nephew. This tragedy forces Lee to head back to his hometown and face not only those he left behind and certain inner demons that he’s been trying to rid himself of for years.

Writer and director, Kenneth Lonergan will likely get Oscar consideration in the spring for his work here. There’s a rawness of human emotion on display that films seldom tap into and it allows “Manchester by the Sea” to feel more like real life than a work of fiction. Every character reacts to situations in a manner that’s believable and even during moments when they don’t necessarily seem likeable, the “why” behind what they’re doing is always crystal clear.

Casey Affleck’s performance is nothing short of career defining. The heartbreak in his eyes is palpable, and you genuinely feel the pain that he’s experiencing throughout the entirety of this movie. Michelle Williams also deserved recognition because despite not being in the movie all that much, her scenes with Affleck are electric and are some of the most devastating in the film

While it’s difficult to imagine wanting to go through this harrowing journey with these characters again, “Manchester by the Sea” is worth seeing at least once for the power of its performances and the realness of its storytelling.