“Manchester by the Sea” – We’re All Like Icebergs

Manchester_by_the_SeaI used to watch ALL the movies back in the days but then life happened and I had to put limits on my passion. Even these days I still try to watch at least the movies nominated to the Academy Awards which is the reason why I’ve seen”Manchester by the Sea”, nominated to six Academy Awards.

When we start to watch the movie, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) seems to be an asshole. He drinks and he’s verbally and physically aggressive. And yet, when he’s informed about a family crisis he takes off almost immediately. Could it be that a man who seems to be the least pleasant person on the whole planet has the reasons to be such a way? Has life inflicted so much pain on him that becoming that way seemed the only solution? It’s difficult to talk about the plot of the movie without revealing too much. The makers on purpose use non-linear narration to play with our perception of the characters and the story itself. The moment we make up our mind about a character we’re forced to rethink our opinion, because of the new events that surface. I really liked this technique as it leads us to a reflection on our everyday life. We’re so quick to judge and label people, but the fact is that we really know very little about them. After all,”People Are like Icebergs, You only really see the tip of them.”

The psychological depth of the presented characters is an undeniable advantage of the movie. One dimensional heros who are a plight of Hollywood movies, have no entry into the world of “Manchester by the Sea”. Fortunately, the actors manage to face up to the challenge and adapt their acting to ever changing circumstances. Apart from Casey Affleck, whose ascetic rendition of Lee is extremely powerful, we can see the incredible Michelle Williams. Her character initially seems even less likeable than Affleck’s, but the more we learn about her, the more we understand her ways. Both actors managed to give convincing and moving performances that require at least a box of tissues. One should not forget to mention, Lucas Hedges, who does a very good job as Lee’s confused teenage nephew.

The film is a slow drama with minimal music and maximum focus on the characters. Everything is meaningful in it; words, gestures, movements. All scenes serve a purpose as the movie is trying to tell a very complex story within just above 2 hours. The balance between action and non-action seems almost perfect. I’m sure many action movies fans would feel bored but I don’t think the role of the cinema is too produce only numerous installments of Fast and Furious.

I do feel that the Academy Award for the best original screenplay was well deserved so was the Oscar for Affleck. Speaking of the latter I also don’t understand the outrage about his prize. Allegedly he sexual harassed some actresses, which if true is horrible. Nevertheless, the claim that he should not receive a prize for his acting because of his alleged moral misconduct seems ridiculous…Anyway, I do recommend “Manchester by the Sea” to anyone who enjoys a thought provoking film and good acting. Make sure you have a box of tissues ready when you watch it, though.

Have you seen the movie, Dear Rinser? What do you think about Affleck’s Oscar – should (alleged) moral conduct have anything to do with such prizes?

 

 

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