Whilst in no way a bad actor, Casey Affleck always seemed to be somewhat in the shadow of his older brother Ben. With the release of ‘Manchester By The Sea’ though a lot of people have been mentioning Casey’s name alongside high praise obtaining quite the buzz for the new movie. With a Golden Globe picked up by the actor too his performance has been quite the endorsement for the film. Reviews have suggested much more than just Affleck’s performance as reason to watch this film though and with the UK release date now here audiences can find out for themselves.
The film is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan and alongside the performances, which I will come to later, it is the screenplay that deserves the most credit. The story follows an uncle and nephew who are brought together through the death of their brother/father. The only slightly negative thing I have to say about the narrative would be that at first the way in which the story is told, through flashbacks at some points, was a little confusing. However, as the film progressed I actually came to quite like this method and could see its benefits. The film is a long one with a running time well over two hours. This was no issue though and testament to the writer that he was able to hold my attention quite effortlessly, I actually would have loved the film to be a bit longer as I was so invested in the characters I didn’t want to leave them. There is an authenticity about the film, it isn’t written like an old Hollywood movie and it’s by no means a by the numbers drama, this will unsettle some but I think it’s a good move from Lonergan. It shows his confidence in his writing and it brings about a reality to the story that wouldn’t haven been there otherwise. Despite the emotional weight attached to the subject matter I strangely didn’t ever become very emotional whilst watching it, although I did care so much for these characters and my response may have been a reflection of the characters actions. Something that maybe won’t be expected from audiences is the amount of humour present in the film, Lonergan weaves this element into his screenplay wonderfully and it adds a lot of entertainment to the film.
The film has a number of supporting roles, played by the likes of Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol, C.J. Wilson & Matthew Broderick. All of these performers do well in their respective roles and work well with the lead performers. It is the lead performances that will live longest in the memories of audiences afterwards. Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges who play the Uncle and Nephew here are really brilliant. Hedges, a relative newcomer to roles of this size copes very well with the demands of such a character and keeps up with the different elements of the story showcasing his ability quite impressively. Affleck leads the drama with an understated confidence, his character is often quite reserved, a trait that could have welcomed a lifeless performance but Affleck manages to convey so much through this character making the praise he has received very well founded. The pair have a wonderful chemistry as well, thanks once again to the writing, but the performances of these men also deserve credit when discussing this success.
‘Manchester By The Sea’ is another film which has been dominating this awards season and rightfully so. Kenneth Lonergan has crafted a powerful and engaging drama including the themes of loss, grief and family. The film is entertaining thanks to the time given to invest in characters and the inclusion of humour alongside drama. Brought to life wonderfully by the talented cast, ‘Manchester By The Sea’ isn’t one to missed.
Rating – 8.5/10
Question: What is your favourite Casey Affleck performance?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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