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The description says and I quote, "a solitary janitor whose life is transformed after he becomes the guardian of his 16 yr old nephew." Spoiler alert: his life is NOT transformed, he is the same as when he started. Two hours of my life I will not get back, I kept hoping for something to redeem this movie but there is none. For those saying this is "real life", two things, one I don't watch movies for real life, I watch to be moved, to be inspired, to be uplifted. And two, real life is actually not as bad as this movie was, this isn't "real life", this is "worst case scenario" no hope garbage.
Phenomenal film propped up by first rate writing by Lonergan and excellent performances across the board. A film that explores loss in a way few films have. The regret and the shame of it. When one character says, "Look Lee, you made a horrible mistake. Like a million other people did last night. But we don't wanna crucify you," and Lee looks back incredulously, you start to understand what the film is about. The preceding few mins and the succeeding few minutes when this line is spoken are some of the hardest you'll watch in a cinema (or your home). Lee, can't forgive himself for what he's done, and he can't even hide behind being the biggest failure in the history of failures. His mistake was so normal, so human.....that its almost unremarkable in and of itself, but the consequences are devastating. Its often in life, we look back at the simplest decisions and wonder if we had just made a choice slightly different, would it have drastically effected the course of our lives. There is hope in this film sure, but its a tempered hope. Its a realistic hope, tethered to the reality of the circumstances. You can't take back what's happened, but maybe just maybe you can move into a place where you can get a piece of what you lost back.
I was totally avoiding watching this movie because of the bad reviews, but I finally decided to give it a watch. I am so glad I did. I really thought this was a good movie. Yes, it is depressing and it is definitely not exciting or suspenseful. No huge redemption or revelation comes at the end. However, it was a quiet, brooding, thoughtful movie about a man in the absolute depths of despair, who is being asked to come out of it....and how he responds. A lot of the mood was set with long (sometimes very drawn-out) shots of landscape with no dialogue. Even though there is no shining, beautiful scene of awakening, there are glimmers along the way...and sometimes that's just how life is. Sometimes growth or redemption comes at a snail's pace. I thought it was beautiful in its own way. Don't watch this movie if you want a happy-go-lucky story or a fast-paced exciting story...wrong movie. But if you are ready for a quiet movie that tells the story of how an unthinkable tragedy can destroy a person, and then (possibly) see a sliver of hope that there is redemption possible...see this movie! Don't let the negative ("it's too depressing") reviews stop you!
The acting is spot on; melancholy. Casey Affleck played this role so well; stuck in survival mode, barely functioning. The story slowly unfolded. It kept my interest. Devastating sadness; the deepest sadness possible. I kept waiting for the characters to have some sort of positive emotional breakthrough, but it never happened. The ending felt flat. But the truth is, it seemed very much like real life would be, under the circumstances; sometimes there's just no happy ending and life dishes out more than one can bear, making it difficult to recover.
This is one of my new favorite movies, an antidote to death by blockbuster franchises. No bomb bursts, but lots of simmering human tension and emotional detonations. Rather than sketching the characters in outline with a few cartoony strokes, director and writer Kenneth Lonergan fills them in gradually and empathetically, even lovingly, a contour here, a shadow there, a highlight elsewhere, so these pained people emerge with complexity and depth . We live with them, learn about them through the flashes (and flashbacks) that we do friends and co-workers--or dysfunctional neighbors--especially the protagonist, so tightly boxed and insulated against his past. A conversation he has with someone from his past is simply heartbreaking. As a sometime New Englander of Irish working class descent, I wanted to spend even more time with these characters. I regretted that the movie ended. The soundtrack is both beautiful and memorable. An aria from the opera Cherubin that closes the film is so sweet, so full of redemption, so matched to the situation and mood that I defy you not to let out at least a muffled sob.
I'm curious about the reactions of others to the film. One Amazon reviewer felt the ending offered no hope. I couldn't disagree more. I came away uplifted. Others didn't like the characters, pace, etc. I wonder if that's because this is a different type of film than they're used to; without neatly tied bows, frenetic editing, it's more novelistic than mainstream films. It could be, of course, that we simply react to the film differently. But perhaps some of these reviewers are looking for an entertainment (perfectly valid) rather than a more patient and exploratory experience that I was in the mood for when I screened the movie.Certainly, the movie received lots of acclaim from professional reviewers.A.O. Scott, writing in the New York Times, reminded me of the low-key wit of so many of the lines. Obviously, we turn to movies for various reasons. My tastes--and my particular mood when viewing Manchester by the Sea--certainly run to what this beautiful film offers.
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2018
What a waste of over two hours of my life. Felt depressed and wondering how this possibly received any good reviews. Was waiting the entire movie for that wow moment that turns the depression around but never came, then movie ended abruptly without and ending, which I was good with because I could finally turn it off at that point.
Also, ich versteh wenn Leute schreiben, das der Film Ihnen zu langweilig war. Denn hier geht es darum ein unglaublich traurige Geschichte langsam und der Dramatik angemessen zu erzählen. Um Affleck`s Spiel zu verstehen, muss man sein Gesicht und seine Gesten sehr genau beobachten. Er spielt einen Mann, der seine Schuld in sich trägt, und diese bricht sich manchmal bahn. Meist lässt er aber all das nicht an sich ran - ich denke das viele Menschen so mit Unglück versuchen umzugehen. Ich fand den Oscar mehr als gerechtfertigt und ausserdem ist es toll das es solche Filme immer noch gibt.
5.0 out of 5 starsI am still amazed at the emotional performances given
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2017
Manchester By The Sea. Well written and directed. I saw this splendid film in the cinema and have now watched the DVD twice. I am still amazed at the emotional performances given. Great cast of actors who appear natural and spontaneous and the atmosphere switches from high drama to humour. It is a heartbreaking story told in flash backs and as with all good films the audience is made to laugh and cry. Casey Affleck deserved his award. The music interludes between scenes are interesting.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2018
How on earth did this win any Oscars. Slow, boring, about the death of his brother. Who wants to watch a film about someone's drab existence. And the acting was awful. Half the time they couldn't get their lines out without making some mistake. Awful film about absolutely nothing worth watching.
A really powerful movie. It deals with raw human emotions in a way that really draws you in. It is a true reflection of the reality that far too many people these days have to endure. It is very moving to watch but very draining too because you are so drawn into the situations depicted. I suspect, it will move many people to tears at times but, it will also make you laugh. Personally, I think this movie is a refreshing change from much of the material the movie industry tends to churn out these days.
2.0 out of 5 starsDepressing and marred by over loud and intrusive music
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2018
The performances were excellent, but I found the film difficult to follow and wasn't sure what was going on for quite some time. It was rather disjointed and it was impossible to hear the dialogue at times, due to the music, which was so much louder than the speech. It's not recommended for anyone suffering from low mood. It's certainly not a film I want to see again and it will go straight to the charity shop!