Casey Affleck’s burgeoning career continues to go from strength to strength as he shines in Kenneth Lonergan’s searing emotional drama.
Set against Massachusetts’ gloomy North Shore, this tragic tale follows Lee Chandler (Affleck) a young man hopelessly lost in life, as he returns to his hometown after the death of his brother Joe (another brilliant turn by Kyle Chandler) to care for Joe’s only son, 16-year-old, Patrick. His brother’s death has left Lee an unexpected, and most under-qualified, legal guardian.
With painful flashbacks to the past intermingled with turbulent scenes of the present, the source of Lee’s sorrow is slowly revealed, underpinning the complexity of his relationships with Patrick and ex-wife Randi (the reliably odd, Michelle Williams) who has remarried and has a baby on the way.
Considered front runners for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress Oscars, Affleck and Williams may have to play second string to Lonergan on the night with many predicting a Best Picture nomination. Whether or not, Manchester-by-the-Sea remains a career highlight, not only for its director but, for virtually all involved.
“His heartbreaking third feature finally confirms Lonergan as an auteur of genuine merit” (Guardian) (research Chris Coetsee). It will wring you ragged, but don’t miss.