I haven't been to too many movies lately because Hollywood is putting out too much crap. Also, the local theater is a hang out for young thugs so it has to be a good movie for me to go see it.
Manchester by the Sea is a small town in Massachusetts on the coast and a little north of Boston. It's not quite to Gloucester but along the way there. I'm familiar with the area as I went to college in Boston and used to scuba dive off of Cape Ann. Enough of the personal history.....
Let me be straight up about this movie - it is NOT a feel good movie. It is a movie about personal tragedy and dealing with loss. as the trailers will tell you, Casey Affleck's character is called back to his hometown to become the guardian of his 15 year old nephew. The movie uses a series of flashbacks to tell you how he came to leave home and what happened to his brother. Some may say that the acting is stilted but to me it seemed that the characters acted exactly the way I would expect real people to. Because of that, the pace is a little slow and much of the emotional interplay is done with facial expressions and body language than dialog.
While the area can be picturesque, the story takes place in winter when the scenery is bleak and trees are bare which adds a depressing note to an already sad story line. The characters are realistic. They do not live in chrome and glass beachfront houses but in wood frame mid century cookie cutter houses furnished with second hand furniture and cheap paneling. They are clearly people stuck in the low middle class who have little hope of improving circumstances who have to deal with real problems.
I think selecting Affleck was an excellent casting choice. He fits the part well and got a Golden globe nomination for Best Actor. Michelle Williams also got a Best Supporting Actress nomination but she was only on screen for less than 10 minutes out of a 2 hour movie so I thinks that is a stretch.
If you can handle a depressing movie with a good story line and decent acting, you may want to catch this one.