Friday, June 21, 2019

1069. Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan

I was not looking forward to watching this movie. Given the all white cast list and the New England setting, I was worried we were approaching Nicholas Sparks territory here. But I have to say, I was moved by this film and my snobbery, as usual, was completely uncalled for.

Lee is a taciturn janitor in Quincy, Massachusetts, who spends his days getting in bitch fights with his clients and nights getting in bar fights. After his brother passes, he is startled to discover that he has been named his teenage nephew's guardian. Given his past, he is convinced that this is not a suitable role for him. And given his past, it is difficult to disagree.

I am not going to lie to you, there are some tough scenes to get through here. And I am talking, of course, about having to endure Patrick's band practice. But if you can suffer through that, the rest of the movie is a beautiful meditation on grief, with surprisingly endearing characters (even though Patrick is an affront to womankind).  I like films that capture the awkwardness of grief, the moments where ordinary people don't know the right words to say, but try their best anyway.

I suppose an argument could be made that it is not quite good enough to be on this List, but they included Blade Runner 2049 so why not.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Idea for the film was originally pitched by Matt Damon and John Krasinski.

The filmmakers portrayed Manchester-by-the-Sea as blue collar when in reality, it's a very affluent town.

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