Manchester By the Sea
by Tony Medley
Runtime 137 minutes.
Not for children.
This is a classic
example of an opaque movie, about a man who cannot forgive himself, that
desperately needed a good editor. Not only is it too long, which it is,
but it has flashbacks that appear out of nowhere with no discernable
transitions. The characters look exactly the same so thereís no way to
realize that the film has gone back several years in time or flashed
forward to the present. It is extraordinarily confusing. Lee (Casey
Affleck) looks and dresses exactly the same in both time periods, so
thereís no way to know itís a flashback until youíre halfway into it, if
Worse, it does not
introduce the characters in a way that is meaningful, so throughout the
film I was asking my friend, ďWho is that?Ē and she was as perplexed as
I. The men look so much alike that itís easy to confuse them.
And, maybe I missed
it, but Randi (Michelle Williams) is remarried to Josh (Liam McNeill),
who appears in the middle of the film as an attorney, but thatís not
revealed until one of the last scenes of the film. If I missed it, so
did my companion at the film, so it definitely was not made clear during
the film. This is just one example of the poor character development of
the movie because other than the three principles, Lee,
Hedges), and Randi, the other people are basically interchangeable and
I was dreading
sitting there for 2 Ĺ hours, but, amazingly, downer that it is, the
acting is so good that the slow pace didnít bother me that much.
While Affleck gives a
good performance as the chronically depressed Lee, there is absolutely
no range required. Heís depressed, and thatís what we have to watch for
2 Ĺ hours. The more challenging performance is given by Williams as his
former wife, Randi. I thought she gave an Oscar quality performance.
Equally good is Lucas Hedges as Leeís nephew, Patrick, around whom the
entire film revolves.
Itís a quintessential
downer, with an abundance of talk, but leaving never occurred to me.