Quiet, Good Movie; Cinematography Great
Bpollen - wrote on 05/06/17
Manchester by the Sea was a good, but not great, movie. It's a solemn movie that follows a man through life, as he plods along in self-punishment, being rude, mean, anti-social, and depressed, as he self-medicates with booze along the way. All this as self-punishment for the unintentional part he played in some family deaths previously. Casey Affleck's performance was good, but there wasn't a whole lot in the character to work with, since he barely responds to the other characters, except for a couple of fight scenes, and once when he cries while he hides his face. I suspect most actors could have pulled this off just as well, with many doing better. He fails to give the character as much depth as would surely be there in a real person faced with such guilt. The plot is good, the script good, the acting good. None of it was great, though, except for the final scenes of Michelle Williams. A cameo by Mathew Broderick was a pleasant surprise. Halfway through the movie I found myself wanting to hear about other people's problems and not just this man's, as he continued to put one step in front of the other and merely shuffle through life, as he continually wallowed in his own problems. I found myself wishing him to be concerned about others more than himself. His fixation on himself is, after all, what caused the tragic event in the beginning to occur in the first place. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe if I see it later, I'll appreciate it more. But for now, I'm surprised that Affleck won an award for this performance or that this movie was nominated for an award. It's just not that great.
Watch and appreciate this movie for the quiet movie that it is, and because it makes you think and ponder your own problems. It is a good movie. But don't expect to be wowed by gripping performances a la Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro. However, Casey Affleck does have beautiful eyes, doesn't he? In colorless scenes of brown houses and brown hair and white snow, his brilliant blue eyes stand out. The cinematography is glorious in this movie.