I’ve written and talked about movies more in the past four months than the entirety of my previous life. In doing so, I’ve been made aware of how much “reality” factors into my enjoyment of the movies. Not in terms of the subject matter, because I go gonzo for stuff like Lord of the Rings and Games that involve Thrones on the TV side, but reality in the context of the world that’s been created for my entertainment. I get really hung up on whether the reactions of the characters fit into the construct I’ve set up for this world based on the mood and themes of the movie itself. This isn’t any revolutionary concept but it’s what drives a lot of my enjoyment in watching movies.
In a movie like Manchester by the Sea, there is a lot that hinges on the believability of the actors when it comes to loss and tragedy. Basically the entire movie is an exploration of how certain people, specifically men from the Boston area, deal with the loss of loved ones. In those terms, I can’t think of a movie that handles this theme better. The main focus is on Casey Affleck’s character Lee Chandler and his nephew Patty Chandler, played by Lucas Hedges. When Patty’s father and Lee’s brother passes away, Lee if left with custody over Patty and struggles with how to deal with the responsibility that’s been thrust upon him. From the very beginning of the movie, it’s made apparent that Lee doesn’t deal with his emotions in a healthy way and the rest of the time the audience is waiting to see if he will eventually get it.