Film No. 6 (2017) January 21st. 10.45 PM LUNA PALACE, Leederville.
"I can't beat it. I just can't beat it. I'm sorry". (Lee tries to explain to nephew Patrick the reason for his predicament).
In any other year Manchester by the Sea would have won Best Picture from The Academy, surely. Moonlight and La La Land just seem to be stealing its thunder this cinematic year. Manchester is such a brilliantly made film that I feel it deserves to win the ultimate accolade. Casey Affleck and Ken Lonergan (Director) may still receive respective oscars for their efforts.
Under Lonergan's spell we are taken on Lee Chandler's (Affleck) journey as a man dealing with emotional scars of the nightmarish kind. It's the way Lonergan layers that journey using silences, subtle close-ups and flashbacks which builds the real story behind this troubled brooding Boston janitor who we meet in the opening scenes that stamps Manchester by the Sea as a great film.
While the unravelling of Chandler's predicament is heart wrenchingly painful the present tense in the film depicts the point in his life where changes are forced upon him. He returns to Manchester after the tragic death of brother Joe (Kyle Chandler). He has to take responsibility for his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges) a sixteen year old free spirit who's baggage free approach to life releases some of Lee's torment. The humour is sometimes dark but for every exchange there is a new subtle dimension layered into their relationship.
Then come the key moments in the final stanza of Manchester. Patrick walks into Lee's room to look at displayed photographs, we don't see what they depict but know in the silence that Patrick better understands why his uncle Lee "can't beat it". And then there is Williams as Lee's ex-wife, perfectly cast, who brings us to our knees in a scene that sums up the subtlety of Lonergan's masterclass in film making. Soundtrack aside, this film comes very close to perfection. It does come with a warning however, there are moments of sheer heartbreak. 11GUMS.