DVD Movie Review: Manchester by the Sea (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Adam Riley 21.05.2017

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Manchester by the Sea (UK Rating: 15)

Manchester by the Sea, the powerful, Academy Award and BAFTA winning film starring Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, Out of the Furnace), Michelle Williams (Oz the Great and Powerful, Shutter Island, Dawson's Creek), and a emotive performance by breakout actor, Lucas Hedges, impressed during its cinema run, far eclipsing its low budget. The themes of grief and family really drew viewers in, bringing many to tears, and now the experience hits the small screen, with writer/director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me)'s masterpiece out now on digital download, on-demand, and to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray via StudioCanal.

Manchester by the Sea chops and changes throughout the timeline as it introduces snippets of back-story with the present day situation, slowly building a subtle connection, which onlookers do not realise is coming until they are tightly tied into the deep tale. It is smartly done, and the investment in the happenings throughout the film really does pay dividends.


 
The story mainly revolves around Lee Chandler (Affleck), who has to deal with more than he bargained for following the death of his older brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler;Carol,The Wolf of Wall Street). The son that Joe left behind, Patrick (Hedges), has been left under the sole charge of his dear uncle at his father's dying behest. However, being tasked with the need to return to his home town of Manchester-by-the-Sea is no simple matter. Chandler may be nothing more than a handyman of sorts nowadays, with seemingly no ties to hold him back, but his own personal issues run deep; far deeper than almost everyone realises.

The younger brother has no idea why his older sibling would entrust his only son upon him, although given the drunken past of the child's mother, and nobody else readily available other than close family friends already with their hands full, options are indeed limited. Chandler, therefore, has no choice other than to submit to the will of his departed brother. However, sadly, being embroiled in his own emotional turmoil and tumultuous past with ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams), and the events that led to their divorce, he ends up being too closed off from the world - dead inside - so is too distant and blunt with Patrick, a 16-year-old youngster struggling not only to come to terms with his father's death and the steps related to the funeral, but also with teenage life in general - the perils of being in a band, not quite fitting in with others, juggling two girlfriends…you know, the norm! The lad's uncle begrudgingly takes leave of his job to care for Patrick, and a bond starts to form between the two, in the most awkward (and sometimes even comical) of ways possible. After all, they are both dealing with trauma, both somewhat isolated from the world around them, and end up helping one another overcome the events that have transpired.


 
Led by a mesmerising, career-best performance from Casey Affleck, the film is thoroughly gripping, and it is no wonder he took the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of a man battling the demons of his past. The entire movie is deeply moving, with Affleck's role is even more nuanced than that of his amazing turn in Gone Baby Gone. Manchester by the Sea truly encompasses the regret and despair of grief that can actually bring people together in the end, stronger than ever before. It is an emotional tour de force that has rightly garnered plenty of awards so far. In addition to Affleck's Best Actor accolade, Kenneth Lonergan won Best Original Screenplay, and a slew of other Oscar nominations were forthcoming (Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best DirectorandBest Picture), as well as Golden Globe and BAFTA wins. There is no questioning whether or not Manchester by the Sea is one of the year's most essential home entertainment releases; it simply is that, and much more.

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
Manchester by the Sea is a real emotional roller coaster, with so many different twists and turns throughout that keep on hitting like a heavyweight boxer with endless stamina. Do not be fooled by the simplistic trailer; there is considerable depth to this dramatic tale, with wonderfully poignant turns from the core cast that drive home the reality of the hard situations faced during their characters' lives. One not to be missed, but be sure to keep those tissues handy…

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