Manchester by the Sea is a trip into a trapped psyche of a broken man, and at the end it is realized that what we have just experienced is a true work of art.
Casey Affleck starts us on a journey through the life of a cold man, and until we realize the extent of his pain, thoughts of a mediocre performance creep into our thoughts. What we discover, from within Lee Chandler’s hidden life annals, leave us shocked, in wonder, and anticipating the moment his emotional bottom will unfold. When will see it? How will it happen? We realize there is no release. There is no bottom. Chandler is a fundamentally different human being now. What we perceive, as cold self destruction, is really our reaction to his newly formed personality. Amazingly, what Affleck gives us, from within this newly created man, living through his never ending painful malaise, is a man of compassion and love, who is trying to limit his impact on the ones closest to him. All he wants is to flee into solitude.
Lucas Hedges and Affleck have a very well connected on screen chemistry. The result is an alternating of whimsical humor, and eye watering heartbreak, that can only can come out of the forging of close personal relationships. These actors create this emotion for us masterfully.
I know, or should I say feel, a good movie when I sit through the rolling credits in contemplation with varying emotions. I sat at the end of Manchester by the Sea for five minutes.