Manchester By the Sea is the first movie from Amazon that has really penetrated the awards circuit. Netflix has tried before and still does with very little success, highlighting the importance by playing by the award’s rules. This movie has been nominated for many big awards and I can tell you it might not deserve some of them.
Manchester by the Sea’s biggest strength is its loyalty to the human condition. Its characters are real people that do what real people would do. There is no embellishment of characteristics that you would hope to see to make the story become better, it plays like real life. The attention to the fact that life is scary and unforgiving without remorse. The idea that you can’t run away from your demons and it is hard to face them. This movie speaks to the truth of a past that haunts you and no matter how hard you try to rise to the occasion, it beats you into submission. We would like to think that in life and in movies, you can rise to the occasion to overcome all obstacles, but more often than not it’s not possible.
This movie tells a story, and the people in my theater would argue an incomplete one, but I would deem it finished. There was nothing more to say, nothing more to do, other than changing the movie’s core belief. We may try to act for other people’s best interests, but at the end of the day the world is a cruel place. To at the very end change what made the movie so special, would not have gotten Casey Affleck so much praise.
Overall I can’t recommend you see this movie if you don’t understand it. It tells a real story of struggle, an internal one that doesn’t make for a flashy movie but speaks to the heart. To the old guy sitting next to me who wouldn’t shut up, you don’t get it and that makes me sad for you.