“Manchester by the Sea”, on OCS City: a gnarled and crystalline melodrama like a winter’s morning


Author of an intimate cinema of an amplitude and a sensitivity that have become extremely rare in American cinema, Kenneth Lonergan delivers with Manchester by the Sea (2016) a moving story, a gnarled and crystalline melodrama like a winter’s morning, stripped of cannons like facilities of the genre. Each work of this extraordinary director resembles an accident, however miraculous.

Also read the interview: Kenneth Lonergan, modest phoenix

In the center of the painting, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), bearded, chilled, his body disappeared under layers of clothing. He is the handyman of a large group, living as a hermit in a gourbi, macerating in the pipes of others as one celebrates a resolute martyrdom. Character through and through opaque, crippled, intense, granite, engulfed in a pain that does not speak its name and that the film will take time to reveal. Pain from which it is extracted at regular intervals, making, in an alcoholic and arbitrary way, the punch in the bars.

Dazzling staging

This zombie, the film will imperceptibly teach us to know him. The director’s talent explodes in the dazzling staging that will allow the veil to be lifted on his mystery and his guilt, in a delicate lyricism, then more and more intense and poignant. The mineral overwhelming that nails the hero to the ground, Lonergan will slowly begin, starting with a phone call. It is the hospital which announces to Lee the death of his brother, a long-time sick fisherman, who appointed him as guardian of his son, Patrick.

Read the review of “Manchester by the Sea”: The ocean suffering of a man broken by life

Back in Manchester by the Sea (Massachusetts), his deserted hometown, Lee, who doesn’t know how to feel things any more than he manages to express himself, would like to give up all the heritage of the deceased, leave the city and take with him his nephew, a serious and resolute adolescent, to roughly wall him up alive in his crib. Patrick, surprisingly mature, tries to spare his uncle, while resisting him strongly, he who wants to live, see his friends, keep the iron in the fire of his two lovers, keep his father’s boat, like the most precious possession that this bequeathed to him.

The title of the film, which is that of the setting in which it takes place, captures the form and substance, the very spirit of the story. The blue-gray of the seaside town on the East Coast of the United States, the brick of buildings, the bite of winter, the pain which, like a blanket of snow, seems to cover everything, but also the radiance of light oceanic, the carefree hours, the happy moments of which we do not suspect how dearly they will be paid. Nothing, here, leaden. Just one question, beating like a devastated heart: how to survive the disaster that separates us, without return, from those we love?

Manchester by the Sea, film by Kenneth Lonergan. With Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol, Lucas Hedges (EU, 2016, 2:18 a.m.). OCS City


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