A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.
A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
An uncle is obliged to return home to care for his nephew after his brother dies. Unknowing he is to be the guardian and struggles with the decision. Throughout the movie he recounts past memories that caused him to leave Manchester and distance himself from his past.
Matt Damon was initially set to direct and star in the film. Back in 2011, Damon, concerned about Kenneth Lonergan's 'horrible limbo', wanted to do something nice for his friend. So he sat in Lonergan's Manhattan apartment and pitched him an idea for a script about a New England handyman who ends up with custody of his dead brother's teen son - a story Damon thought would be right up Lonergan's dark alley. he idea for Manchester by the Sea actually was hatched by John Krasinski. Krasinski shared his nascent pitch with Damon over dinner in 2011 during the filming of The Adjustment Bureau (in which Damon co-starred with Krasinski's wife, Emily Blunt). They actually grew up a few bus stops from each other in Massachusetts - Damon in Cambridge, Krasinski in Newton. Damon liked Krasinski's idea so much, he considered not only starring in the film but also making it his directorial debut. They wasted no time heading to New York to pitch Lonergan. Embroiled in his Margaret troubles (the film was being held up from release by a lawsuit filed by producer Gary Gilbert, who was demanding a shortened re-edit that Lonergan was refusing to make) and committed to other stage projects, it took Lonergan a couple of years to get a first draft written. By then, Damon's schedule had filled up and he'd had second thoughts about directing the project, although he still wanted to star in it. Lonergan, meanwhile, finally had seen movement on Margaret (the film had a limited release in 2011; the court case was settled in 2014) and was starting to think about stepping behind a camera again. "He came back with this 150-page draft. It was too long, but it had everything that was in the movie." Damon urged Lonergan to make Manchester by the Sea his next directing job. Even with Damon still attached to star and produce, financing was hard to come by. And then, another blow: Damon had to drop out as the lead because of a slew of other commitments that would have delayed production for years. He recruited childhood friend Casey Affleck to take his place. See more »
In the emotional scene where Randi apologizes to Lee, her mouth sometimes can be seen moving from a back shot even though she is not talking. See more »
Mediocrity will win the hearts of the Academy with this dull film about a jerk.
Mediocrity by the Sea
"Manchester by the Sea" will win Oscars: it pulls at the hearts strings, children die, and the main character, Lee Chandler played by Casey Affleck, appears to have a mental disorder beyond his grief.
The film contains too much exposition; things don't happen on screen, they are talked about, and the dialogue isn't good enough to hold one's interest. In one scene, Lee Chandler's ex-wife (played by the serviceable Michelle Williams) says to him, "I said such terrible things to you." So, why not show a flashback with her insulting him? Show what transpired. Don't have the character say it, show it. I suspect they couldn't come up with something shocking enough for her to say so they didn't bother. Another example is when there is a horrible accident, a life- changing tragic event. Why not show how that happened, again, in flashback? Was it too expensive to have Mr. Affleck on the screen for an extra minute?
Lee Chandler is clearly an alcoholic, but no one addresses it. The ex-wife still has a thing for him, and I can't see why. He's not great looking, he's not funny, he's not wealthy, and he's an alcoholic. Perhaps the writer didn't see Lee's constant need for beer or his journey to get beer that lead to the film's major turning point, as signs of Chandler's alcoholism. How about his bar fights?
What makes us care about him? I don't. His situation is pushed on us, demanding we feel sympathy for him. It's forced and not authentic. He's not even entertaining when he mopes. Some back- story about his life in Manchester might have helped us empathize with him. As it is, he's a jerk who drinks, fights and mopes.
There were problems with the flashbacks and editing. There is no clean transition made between today and the past, and Lee looks just the same in both the present and past, leaving us to guess when events were occurring. At first, it took a while to realize the film was in a flashback. The second flashback was less confusing but still not obvious. It should be obvious when a flashback occurs, not a puzzle.
Maybe I'm jaded or maybe his tragedy is not that unique. And, just in case you don't feel the tragedy, the overblown music throws the mood at you when silence would have been a better choice. The cinematography of the wide open spaces over the sea is spectacular, but the camera work during the rest of the film is pedestrian.
Casey Affleck acts like a lost puppy throughout the film, as if his older brother had just admonished him for something and he couldn't get over the scolding. Affleck expertly moves between moping and anger, showing little emotional between those two extremes. But heck, the Academy likes mopers, so that should score him some Oscar points. And he's a white moper, more points. And he's slightly mental. More points.
Patrick, his brother's orphaned son, is played adeptly by Lucas Hedges. Mr. Hedges does the best with the material, but it's not enough. Everyone but Patrick is dull. The story is slow, but I don't mind watching a slowly developing story. "Moonlight" is a good example of how a film can develop deliberately with success. "Manchester by the Sea" is like watching paint dry.
The film has too many transition scenes of Lee driving around. How about this: car leaves drive way, cut to, car arriving at the destination. Sure, the film did some of that, but there were too many dead spots of Lee thinking, hedging and milling about. It's true to life, but so is paint drying, and I don't want to watch that either.
Rating: Rent It
Many people love this movie, but I have to be brutally honest. "Manchester by the Sea" is dull, stilted and not compelling. The plot and tragedy in the film are forced and phony. The film stays on the surface of the characters and never dives deeply enough into Lee Chandler's life and personality for us to care. The only thing you will miss by seeing it on the small screen are a few visually appealing establishing shots of the sea.
Peace, Tex Shelters
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