Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester By The Sea is a deeply moving portrait of grief, loss, and the deteriorating effect on the psyche such emotional trauma can cause, a film which is genuine about how difficult it truly is to heal from tragedy, detailing the life of a man in Lee Chandler who struggles to deal with his tumultuous past. Oscillating between the past and present, Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester By The Sea never resorts to simplicity or didactic means when telling its tale. It's a film that slowly and subtly consumes the viewers, always giving the audience enough detail but never too much when it comes to revealing the true complexities of its family-centric tale. Lee Chandler's relationship with his nephew Patrick, who he was shockingly rewarded sole guardian of after his brother's death, is the strength of the film, two characters who each are struggling with not only their own loss but how to be empathetic to one and other. The healing process which takes place between these two characters is slow, yet organic, with Manchester By The Sea's revealing the long, slow fight associated with depression and pain. There is no happy ending in Manchester By The Sea but there are moments of hope throughout, with the film brilliantly capturing the tedious nature of psychological healing, acknowledging that one may never truly heal from such loss, while recognizing that the path back from darkness is more so than not a long-winded marathon not a sprint. Lee is a character who has effectively given up in life, a man who has grown accustomed to wallowing in his own grief, uninterested in attempting to recover from the horrible tragedy of his past. Through this character Manchester By The Sea displays the relationship pain & loss has with anger & volatility, as Lee occasionally has violent, explosive outbursts, episodes rooted in his inability to hold in his inner anguish any longer. Haunted by his past, Lee is a man who stews in his own hatred for himself, with his violent outbursts intentionally aimed at causing him the most pain - whether it be punching through a glass window, or picking a fight with a group of men, a fight that he himself knows will end in physical damage and pain to himself. An expertly crafted drama, Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester By The Sea shows a great sense of silence and spacing, a film that routinely wallows in the emptiness of its compositions, using dialogue much more sparingly than most film's of its ilk. It's through this silence that Lonnergan's film exhibits the ethos of despair, one of disconnection and lack of communication, with Lee in particularly being a man who has very little interest in any from of human connection, whether physical or mental, after the tragedy that shook the very foundations of his life. Dealing with such complex drama, Manchester By The Sea masterfully navigates the waters of sentimentality, never feeling emotionally manipulative or overwrought in the slightest, with the filmmaker's intentions only being to deliver an honest and genuinely felt portrait of grief and depression. Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester By The Sea isn't a film which positions itself for the happy ending, it instead simply focuses on being honest about its character's and their pain, delivering a profound portrait of depression and grief, fully recognizing the destructive power and long-reaching effects which tragedy can have on the human psyche.
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