Posted in Movie Monday

Lee, the sea, and me

Movie Monday: Did You See and Agree?

It’s Monday! I saw a movie! Let’s discuss.

I tend to shy away from award winners, especially during award season. Luckily, I’m on the exclusive Netflix one-DVD-at-a-time UNLIMITED plan, so I see flicks about 6 months later, more than enough time for the hype to quiet down. In the past, I’ve been more than annoyed by Oscar winners (still annoyed about time wasted on Whiplash). With Manchester by the Sea, however, that is not the case.

The story: Bad things happen. People react differently, because of events, but also because of who they are. Life continues throughout. And there is humor in the darkness. (*Note: I will write as little as possible about the story so as not to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. Knowing too much before viewing would lessen the emotional impact of this beautifully tragic film.)

The good: There isn’t a bad performance in the movie, and some of the performances are downright astounding (special shout-out to the overlooked Kyle Chandler,  as Joe Chandler, who is Oscar-winning/Lee Chandler-portraying Casey Affleck’s equal in emoting with his face, eyes, and body language, IMHO). And the writing — I’m blown away: conversations that sound like actual conversations, dealing with necessary aspects of a tragedy soon followed by “can I have a ride? I have band practice,” because that’s how it actually happens; the quiet exposition — the name of the boat, which you’re left to figure out on your own, and the three photo frames, whose pictures you never see (and don’t need to for the impact they provide in two quiet yet pivotal scenes); the absurdity of reality, like when one character is being put into an ambulance after a tragic event and it takes forever because the EMTs can’t collapse the legs of the gurney. The writing peaks when, in the penultimate scene, I thought the exact words that come out of one character’s mouth. I was along for the ride, with them all.

The not-as-good: I wasn’t expecting anything, so if I had known, I wouldn’t have watched this on a happy Saturday. Also, if you don’t like movies that make you think, or for which it would be handy to have a box of Kleenex nearby, you won’t like it. A few bits of music seemed not to match the scene. I’m nitpicking.

Grade:  3 stars out of four.

Let me know what you thought of this flick in the comments. Thanks for reading. And here, have a tissue.

Movie Monday is my extremely infrequent movie/TV show review series. Click here to read more reviews.


I'm a writer who loves to laugh and smile. :-)

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