Movie: Manchester By The Sea (2016) #Oscars

My Take

  • I felt like it was a movie of awkward silences.  I believe if you had cut down on some of those silences, the movie would have been a nicer, shorter length. 
  • In the morgue when he (Casey Affleck) kisses his dead brother, my heart hurt.  Losing Daddy a little under five months ago, this scenario struck too close to home for me.
  • When I finished this movie the thought I had was: “Some things don’t work out, no matter how badly you want them to.”  That and “Holy shit, please do NOT tell me this is how it ends.”
  • Matthew Broderick??!?  Really?  Such a creep.
  • The music used in the film (opera) was both soothing and irritating.
  • I cried – for the loss of the children.  Holy shit that was an intensely amazing scene.
  • All through the movie I kept thinking: “Casey Affleck looks like he should be Mark Ruffalo’s brother, not Ben’s.”


I did not hate this movie.  It had a certain intensity that draws you in.  But, I did not love this movie either.  It was unnecessarily long and the opera music eventually rubbed me wrong.  Also, I have a hard time with what I felt (IMHO) was the leaving of (loved) family behind.  I could not suss that out enough to make me ok with it or understand it.  Overall, I give the movie a B-.


Did you see the movie?  Did you like it?  Let me know in the comments below. 

Some additional information on the movie…

Synopsis:  In Manchester By The Sea,  the latest film from award-winning writer and director Kenneth Lonergan, the life of a solitary Boston janitor is transformed when he returns to his hometown to take care of his teenage nephew.  The story of the Chandlers, a working-class family living in a Massachusetts fishing village for generations, Manchester By Th Sea is a deeply poignant, unexpectedly funny exploration of the power of family.


Clips for the movie can be found: here.

It received a Rotten Tomatoes review of 96% Fresh.  The audience review on RT: 81% liked it with an Average Rating: 4/5 and total number of User Ratings: 39,645.

Additional reviews by:

On its opening weekend, it graced 151 screens. Box Office Budget is estimated at $8.5M.

Manchester-by-the-Sea is an actual town, named just that.  Interesting tidbit: the name of the town was changed from Manchester on September 25, 1989 to give it distinction from the larger nearby Manchester, NH.  The move to change the name was highly controversial and was spearheaded by Edward F Corley. Interesting blog about it: here.

According to an interview with Kenneth Lonergan on DP/30, the idea for the film didn’t originate with him – the main core of a character going back home to take care of a family member after a death was pitched to Lonergan by Matt Damon and John Krasinski as a script that Lonergan would write and for Damon to direct. But due to scheduling conflicts with The Martian (2015), Damon couldn’t direct the film or star in it (he was considered for the role of Lee that Casey Affleck was cast in.) Lonergan was then given free rein as a writer-director for the project, with Damon as producer.


Interesting tidbit of Trivia we learned while watching the film in Columbus: Kevin Grondin, who plays the funeral director, is also one in real life.

Additional IMDB Trivia:

In two separate occasions in the film a hockey game is being watched. First by Lee and then Patrick. The game in question is the 11/21/13 game between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.  Both times Lee and Patrick are watching the Boston Bruins on television, the exact same game is being televised (against the Saint Louis Blues). Moreover, you can notice the goaltender Jaroslav Halak playing for the Blues. He played for the team between 2010 and 2014. However, the movie takes place in 2015.

When Patrick opens the freezer in the kitchen, you can see Gardein products in the door. Gardein makes vegan meat substitutes. The film’s lead, Casey Affleck, is a vegan and might have been involved in the placement of the products.

Email from Jeffrey shows email address of “Jgarner”. Casey Affleck’s sister in law is Jennifer Garner.

The boat owned by Joe Chandler (and inherited by Patrick) is called Claudia Marie. This is the name of Joe’s mother (aka Patrick’s grandmother). This can be seen when the family’s grave is shown during Joe’s burial.

Director Cameo: Kenneth Lonergan as the Manchester Pedestrian who heckles Casey Affleck (Lee Chandler) for being a bad parent.

The scene where the paramedics try to roll the stretcher in the ambulance and fail was not scripted. The actors actually continued to struggle to get the stretcher in, but Kenneth Lonergan decided not to cut it.



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