Manchester By The Sea (15) – A Preview

Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, USA, 135 mins

With Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s earlier features offered little evidence that he was capable of producing work of genuine merit, but in Manchester By the Sea, the story of a broken man returning to the scene of past traumas, we finally see what he is capable of.

Casey Affleck is spellbinding as Lee Chandler, a reclusive, emotionally stunted janitor prone to occasional violent outbursts. His temperament is all the more chilling when we see in flashback the garrulous and affectionate man he once was. The interplay between Affleck and Lucas Hedges, as his querulous nephew is nicely done, and always at the centre of the action, but it is the mystery of what changed Chandler that bubbles away in the background, constantly intriguing and in its resolution, devastatingly logical.

Some may find this uneasy narrative of a troubled soul difficult to take, and Lonergan certainly doesn’t offer up any cosy solutions to the grim circumstances Lee Chandler finds himself in, but if you’re prepared to take this unsettling journey with him, Manchester By the Sea will reward you with a proper grown-up viewing experience.

By David Vass

To book tickets to watch the film on the 9th August click here