There are many, many great reviews of Manchester by the Sea online. Lots of accolades for Casey Affleck and the movie in general. Forecasts of awards. It gets 97% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I have never seen a movie get such consistently high approval there. So I thought I should see it.
I admit that I went with high expectations and only a smidgen of information about the plot. I found the movie to be slow…no Slow, with a capital S. It ends up as spending two hours and fifteen minutes with a guy (Lee Chandler) who is depressed and traumatized. There seemed to be no arc. It just went on and on with Lee declining to interact meaningfully with anyone, breaking in to flying fists or f-bombs at the drop of a hat. It was predictable and tedious.
Now, maybe to the movie’s credit that is what it feels like to be depressed. Stuck in the mud with no way out or no energy to make one’s way out. So for that portrayal I will give the movie credit. I got depressed just trying to pick photos for this blog article.
There were a lot of abruptly edited flashbacks that seemed jarring to me. And there were a few scenes that just dragged on and on with no progress and sometimes no point. At times I wondered if the cast were adlibbing their lines. But then the reviews all credit positively the screenplay. Go figure. Some of the minor characters were distractingly boring. And I found the choice of music as background odd and sometimes feeling inappropriate. Like going to your iTunes catalogue and pressing random to select a background song.
Sorry, I just got nothing out of this movie and found it monotonous. If you want to spend a couple of glum hours not seeing one smile, this is the movie for you. Rogue One was at the other end of the spectrum in terms of frenzied action so in the past couple of weeks I have experoemced the gamut. 3 out of 5 from me. May win awards but not from me. Affleck’s performance may have been good but there have been many others in the past year that were much better.