Manchester By The Sea – A Retrospective


Retrospective’s Rating:-

Enjoyability – 7/10

Characters – 10/10

Story – 8/10

Music – 9/10

Shooting – 8/10

Overall CAT score = 42/50 or 4.2/5


Manchester By The Sea is a real cinephile’s film. It is extremely rough, hard going, and exhausting to get through, but what director/writer Kenneth Lonergan creates is a masterpiece of human vulnerability and a deep look into the internal struggles of grief.

The movie has actually been out for over a year, receiving it’s debut at Sundance in 2016 but in Australia we had to wait until today (2nd February 2017) to finally see it in cinemas.

Manchester By The Sea sees Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) return to his hometown after the not so unexpected death of his brother, where he now has to arrange the details of his funeral and take care of his teenage nephew Patrick, who has always been a bright spot in Lee’s life.


Throughout the film we are given insights and flashbacks into Lee’s former life in Manchester-by-the-Sea, why he left, and why he is who he is at this very point in the movie. Affleck to this part plays the character flawlessly, portraying him as a vulnerable, introverted and grief stricken individual, whilst Lucas Hedges plays Patrick, the mouthy, social butterfly, who seeks comfort in his school life and his myriad of girlfriends just as brilliantly.


The characters in the movie are what really drives the emotion, creating an unstable world that could crumble at any time, pasting over the cracks in their life and bottling up their emotions to just carry on with life.

The technical aspects aren’t overly drawn out, the cinematography is in equal parts bleak, matching the mood with the colours, giving a very washed out look, allowing the music and characters to really drive the emotions and story.

The story doesn’t really go anywhere as such and feels much more suited as a Mike Leigh film, but this is one of those films that you can look back on and realise that more often than not it is the characters and the actors who play them that create the perfect film, not the story. Picking up all the major categories in this year’s Academy Awards and already given Casey Affleck a Golden Globe win, Manchester By The Sea is a must for all those who appreciate good solid character driven films.


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