Manchester by the Sea (2016)

I was looking forward to this the most out of all the London Film Festival titles. It turned out to be wonderful.

I loved director Kenneth Lonergan’s previous film, Margaret, but it wasn’t easy to see. The studio buried it by delaying its release by four years, cut it ruthlessly, gave it no publicity and only a cursory cinema release. But despite its inevitable financial failure it had its champions, particularly amongst those (like me) who had seen the longer directors cut.  One of these champions was Matt Damon who arranged funding and studio interest for Manchester on the Sea.

It stars Casey Affleck as a solitary , awkward but kind man forced to become reacquainted with his wider family after a tragedy. It’s human, compassionate, exquisitely observed and, like life, a little messy. A film that is not afraid to take its time, its characters are all completely 3-dimensional with frailties, faults and foibles.

This is a sad, painful, funny, uplifting and masterful film.

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