Manchester By the Sea
This isn't a review. I'm not that clever. I just wanted to talk about this film because I fell in love with it. I didn't want to love it. When the rumors about Casey Affleck being a sexual predator came out, I decided that I didn't want to support the film. I've always thought that it's incredibly important - what we spend our money and time on- and it sends a message. Then I realized that I had the screener sitting at home - I wasn't per se supporting the film - I was already in possession of it. And it's like homework for me. So I watched it.
And now I'm doing what I said I wouldn't do. It's one of the best films I've ever seen. One of the most incredible stories I've seen told. *******SPOILER ALERT*************
When I got halfway through the movie, where the incident is revealed - I bawled my eyes out. Everything made sense. Everything came together and what I had been watching began to piece together. We are watching the story of a man who cannot forgive himself. I'm not really going to talk about performances. I'm more interested and fascinated by this story. Then, when I watched the end of the film, I lost it. Bawled my eyes out again. This time, from a sense of happiness. I'll explain later.
A few days later, I discussed the film with various friends and told them why I loved the film and they all said "I didn't see it that way" or "Oh I missed that". Then I began reading reviews and reading anything that people had written about the film. I was confused. I feel like I saw a very different film than what other people had seen. And it comes down to one scene. Every review, and person, talked about how Lee Chandler "couldn't beat it". That it was dark and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. And that wasn't what I saw at all. The thing that turned it was the scene after the funeral where Lee and his nephew are walking up a hill. Lee admits that he lied and that there is no job. But then he says he's going to find an apartment with an extra room, maybe have a pullout sofa in it. His nephew asks why. He says, in case you want to go to college in Boston or something like that. His nephews says he's not going to college. And then he says, fine I'll use the room to store my shit - or something like that. And that's the difference. That's significant. Or at least it was to me. I saw a man who was isolated and couldn't forgive himself, who was self destructive and couldn't let anybody in...then tell his nephew that he was going to get a bigger apartment with a spare room so that his nephew had the option to visit him. It's the tiniest of shifts, a small opening - BUT IT'S AN OPENING. It's a change, the needle moved slightly but it moved. That's hopeful. FULL OF HOPE. That's why I don't really understands the myriad of reviews that talks about how dark it is, and how he can't get past this event and how it ends sad. Or maybe it's a glass half empty/half full thing. He didn't transform enough for people, but for me, that extra room meant everything.