REVIEW – In Manchester by the Sea, Robert Ford is sad because he married the woman from Shutter Island.
Casey Affleck plays Lee, a not so mild-mannered janitor. Just the way he fixes a toilet screams emotionally harrowing backstory. When his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies, Lee has to go back to the titular town and wrap up his affairs, including a son Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Everything around him reminds him of the terrible trauma that led him to be the emotional damaged man we see today. Not to mention of course the fact he’s just lost his brother and Patrick has some problems of his own. Michelle Williams is Lee’s ex-wife – now pregnant with another partner – who returns for the funeral.
Kenneth Lonergan’s movie never shies away from the heights of melodrama. There’s a use of the most hackneyed piece of classical slosh – Albioni’s Adagio – which works completely. The humor helps a great deal but also the refusal to proffer resolutions. There’s a bravery in the idea that no, everyone is not going to be all right. There’s some shit you’ll never come back from. Acting all around is excellent. Though a small cameo by Matthew Broderick only had the effect in my screening of making everyone shout in unison ‘Hey! Is that Matthew Broderick?’