3.5/4

Manchester By The Sea [2016] ★★★½

 manchesterCasey Affleck gives a tour de force performance in “Manchester By The Sea”, an emotionally charged drama that ranks among the best movies of 2016. Writer-director Kenneth Lonnergan paints a picture of an emotionally wounded man that is both harrowing and heartbreaking. Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a man who finds his life thrown into turmoil when his brother suddenly dies, leaving behind a teenage boy. In his will, he has chosen Lee to become his legal guardian. Even though he loves his nephew, he doesn’t exactly warm up to the idea at first. In the midst of this, we learn more and more about Lee’s difficult past, a man still haunted by painful memories. In only his third film as a director, Kenneth Lonnergan knows exactly how to manipulate his audience. He also has an eye for great faces, and “Manchester By The Sea” is full of them, in roles both large and small. Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler head a first-rate supporting cast, while Casey Affleck gives the richest and best performance of his career so far. “Manchester By The Sea” unfolds at a leisurely pace, which means if won’t appeal to every moviegoer. But if you’re a patient viewer, this is a rich and very rewarding drama.

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