Manchester By The Sea (2016) Review – Best Picture Oscar Film 1

Award Season – The story of an uncle being asked to care for his nephew after the boy’s father passes away.

“I said a lot of terrible things to you, my heart was broken, but I know yours was broken too.”

Original release date: December 16, 2016

Well readers and friends, its that time of year again, the time of year where I watch 9 of the most deemed quality films by the Academy in preparation for the big night of February 26th, thats right its Oscar season! I will be reviewing or at least try to review all other films I haven’t already reviewed before the night of the Oscars. I have reviewed 4/9 of the films already, I will link their individual reviews below and then write the other 5, stay tuned! The nominees for the Oscars were released on January 24th.

Best Picture Nominees:

Arrival –


Hacksaw Ridge –

Hell Or High Water –

Hidden Figures

La La Land


Manchester By The Sea

Moonlight –

I started this watching venture with a film I was really interested in seeing when I first heard about it, and it became a must-see after Casey Affleck took him the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Leading Role – Drama this year. This looked like an amazing story that I needed to watch, and it was convenient because my mother really wanted to see it as well.

Machester By The Sea is a Drama film about an uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies. It is a story about acceptance, denial and life.

The film is directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan his filmography with directing I haven’t heard of any of the films but the writing credits that he has to his name are Analyze This (1999), The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000), and Gangs Of New York (2002). Its obvious to me, after watching Manchester By The Sea that Lonergan has directing and writing talent, I remember Analyze This and Gangs of New York being very well written, except I didn’t finish all of Gangs of New York yet, which is something I have to do, if not for the stellar cast, for Lonergan’s penmanship. Manchester By The Sea was so simply filmed, but I think that it was a definite positive as it didn’t focus on flashy camera ework, it focused on the story, and the story was extremely well written and well made. I thought he did a good job directing and he got an excellent performance out of every single one of his actors.

The cinematography in this film was amazing, it made me want to go visit Manchester, and no its not the United Kingdom, its Massachusetts. The small fishing town reminded me a lot of Mahone Bay and Peggy’s Cove area, small houses, and small. But it was filmed in such a way that Manchester became a character in and of itself. I was genuinely blown away by the cinematography.

The film stars Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler, Michelle Williams as Randi Chandler, Kyle Chandler as Joe Chandler, and Lucas Hedges as Patrick.

Casey Affleck’s filmography consists of such films as Good Will Hunting (1997), American Pie (1999), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), American Pie 2 (2001), Ocean’s Twelve (2004), Gone Baby Gone (2007), The Assassination Of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), Out of the Furnace (2013), Interstellar (2014), and Triple 9 (2016). Casey Affleck is always great to watch act, he has been a favourite actor of mine ever since I saw Gone Baby Gone and since then I’ve actually gone out of my way to watch films he’s in because I just think he’s great. I hold a soft spot in my heart for Gone Baby Gone, but he definitely deserved the Golden Globe award and the Oscar nomination for his role as Lee in Manchester By The Sea. His character had a lot of heart, but was extremely troubled and depressing, but he also had parts that made me laugh. His portrayal of the character was extremely well rounded and I thought he had great chemistry with Lucas Hedge’s character Patrick. You genuinely felt sorry for his character, but you were interesting and glued to the screen to see what happened next.

Michelle Williams’s filmography consists of such films as Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), I’m Not There (2007), Shutter Island (2010), and Blue Valentine (2010). I don’t know how I feel about Michelle Williams, I have seen all these movies, twice maybe three times and I don’t remember her characters at all. I don’t know if thats on me, that I’ve seen so many movies that I can’t remember every character or what, but I thought she did a good job in this movie. She always seems to play these really dramatic roles, like I remember her character in Blue Valentine being really depressed and sad, but I don’t remember why she was that way. It was nice to see her act in Manchester By The Sea and I will definitely have to revisit some of her older films that she’s done to really get my mind around her acting skill, theres no doubt she has skill but I don’t remember her in other films as well.

Kyle Chandler’s filmography consists of such films as The Kingdom (2007), Super 8 (2011), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Argo (2012), and The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013). Kyle Chandler always plays the cop or a fatherly character in the roles that he chooses, and I thought for the amount of screen time he had that his portrayal of Joe was good. It was short and too the point in order to serve the plot of the film, but he was a genuinely likeable guy. It was also interesting how much you enjoyed him as others were talking about him throughout the movie. The way people talked about him and described him in the movie, pushed his character even more, and it was interesting to see Casey Affleck’s take on his other side, as his brother as they seemed like two completely different characters, and he was compared to his brother Joe a few times throughout the movie.

Lucas Hedges’s filmography consists of such films as Dan In Real Life (2007), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). I thought Lucas Hedges did a great job in this movie, his role as Patrick was interesting. He was a complete asshole to his uncle and treated people like absolute crap. But he had moments where you actually liked him and you actually thought he was funny. He played the trouble young man dealing with such a traumatic event well, and I’m intrigued to see what he does next.

The soundtrack to the film was interesting to me. I loved the mix of musical genres and subtlety. Some scenes especially when we had the camera panning over the water, land and houses of Manchester, we were accompanied by some very subtle classical music, it was very somber and you felt like you were there. But then there were other scenes where Patrick would ask his uncle Lee to listen to music when they were driving, and the music turned into more rock oriented. It was an interesting use of music, and it was definitely a memorable part of the film.

My negatives against the film are small but I feel like I should talk about them. I thought the film had some weird pacing issues and editing issues. I think they were going for a unique style to give the film backstory, and the characters. But there were scenes where they jumped around,  and flash backed too much, one scene you were in the present, the next you were in the past and you learn something small about a character and then you would jump back to the present. I feel like some flashbacks in films are interesting and mandatory to further plot development, but theres style and then there overuse and I felt this film definitely overused that element.

Overall, I give Manchester By The Sea a 4.5/5.

The acting was definitely my favourite part of the film and its easy to see now why Casey Affleck got the oscar nomination.

the Oscars Manchester by the Sea is nominated for are as follows:

Best Picture

Best Actor In A Leading Role – Casey Affleck

Best Actor In A Supporting Role – Lucas Hedges

Best Actress In A Supporting Role – Michelle Williams

Best Achievement In Directing – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Original Screenplay – Kenneth Lonergan

Until Next Time!


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