Starring Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, C.J. Wilson
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
2016 / 137 Minutes / Amazon Studios / Mongrel Media

Manchester by the Sea disappointed me more than any other movie this year. I expected this would be on my top five of the year, but somehow this really didn’t live up to my expectations I had of it.

You really need to be in the mood for this one. It’s a slow heavy character driven drama that simply drags on way too long for my liking. It pales in comparison to this years other heavy Oscar drama Moonlight. Not that I want to compare the two, but Moonlight was a superior film.

I wanted to like the story, but I just didn’t find these characters engaging or likeable enough for me to really care about. I was bored and if I’m being honest I felt absolutely nothing. There were two powerful moments that grabbed me which gave me hope that the movie would go somewhere, but then lost me again in the odd pacing and structure. It started off strong and I was really into it, but then you find that it never really goes anywhere. So maybe this movie is too much like real life, fair enough, but I needed this character to change or to deal with his grief. It doesn’t happen, what you get at the beginning is what you get at the end of this.

It probably sounds like I really hated this movie. I did not, I appreciated what I was watching. My expectations were set so high that I felt nothing but utter disappointment. The movie is strong at times and the performances are remarkable from everyone. Casey Affleck has never been better and Michelle Williams is outstanding with not enough screen time.

I don’t know why Manchester by the Sea didn’t resonate with me. It could grow on me as time goes by and maybe a second viewing someday, but for now I think it’s really overrated. By the end I felt empty and like I had been dragged threw for what felt like a lot more than 2 and a half hours of nothing. It kills me to not have loved this movie.

Grade C+

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