Every so often, a movie comes along that makes you reevaluate your life in an instant. "Manchester by the Sea" isn't that movie, but it does make you think about the quiet moments of life, the ones you let get by you without a second thought.

About the movie

"Manchester by the Sea" is an American drama movie. Distributed by Amazon Studio and directed by Kenneth Lonergan ("You Can Count on Me"), the movie had a limited release on November 18, 2016.

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Lee Chandler is an unassuming janitor in the Boston suburbs who learns of the death of his brother following a heart attack. In his brother's will, he is granted custody of his nephew, who has a relatively happy life without his birth mother in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Lee works on reconnecting with his nephew while getting over the grief of a tragic incident that has marred his own life.

Emotional depth

Casey Affleck had a breakout performance as Lee Chandler in the movie.

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Throughout the film, he never really says a lot, but says everything in his silences and facial expressions, to be cliche. The pain in him is palpable, but his way of coping is distant and distressing, constantly keeping him at bay, both from the audience at large and his loved ones.

The performance of Lucas Hedges as Chandler's nephew, Patrick, was also incredibly moving. He lost his family, yet took everything as he would take the sea - in stride.

He tried to present himself as being suave and a ladies man, but inside he was incredibly broken, and that showed throughout the movie.

The only performance in the movie that was lacking was Michelle Williams', who played Lee's ex-wife. She wasn't asked to carry a heavy load in the movie except in one particular scene that was supposed to connect her with Lee in an unmistakable way. Sadly, the acting in the scene felt contrived and ill-executed, leaving a sour taste surrounding the remaining scenes.

The structure of the movie was also masterfully done. There are moments throughout the film where it's not immediately clear if we're in the present or the past, Quincy or Manchester-by-the-Sea, spectators or participants.

A powerful example of this sensation unfolds in an almost unreal fashion, a narrative of what made Lee who he is today. The sequence has some foreboding, but mostly allows events to take place in a very natural and unassuming fashion, with every second ticking towards heartbreak.

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It's the best sequence in any movie in 2016, one could (and should) argue.

"Manchester by the Sea" will be garnering plenty of Oscars buzz, and this movie should, providing a bigger gut punch than any film this year.

Rating: A

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