27 April 2020 – Manchester by the Sea

Well it’s been a long gap since I last wrote. Last week was a one of those weeks where you fight just to get to the end. You can’t do anything other than the unavoidable. So in my case, I worked, I ran and I played Call of Duty online with my friends. To be fair, that’s pretty good going – work, exercise and social interaction (as far as anyone can socialize). It has meant that my productive plans took a back seat, but hey, you gotta stay alive. On the film side of things I have a bit of a build up of things to write about so I think this will be a long entry with my general thoughts on life and the first film and then there will probably be a couple of short entries over the next few days to catch up.

I’ve been trying hard to be productive so I don’t lose my mind. Over the weekend I cleaned out the garden shed with my mom. It wasn’t a massive job but we really sorted it out and once it was done I really felt like I’d earned my time sitting around. When I can’t go anywhere I really get cabin fever from just sitting around so getting things done prevents that. I’m also trying to mix up my relaxing time. I’ve been trying to watch more films instead of playing FIFA. FIFA is a real crutch for me because it’s so mindless but I always feel like it’s such a waste because there is no substance to it. I’ll always prefer a narrative to FIFA but FIFA is always the easiest thing to go to. I’m trying to break it up by playing more guitar and I am getting back into the swing of that. I’m focusing on songs I can sing along to because I’m a shitty guitar player and I love a sing song. I’m saving up some musical thoughts for a later post so I’ll park that there.

One of the best things I’ve done with my time lately was watching Manchester by the Sea. It is the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. I was recommending it to someone and they asked what it was about and my explanation was a sad thing happens to a man who gets sad and then another sad thing happens to him forcing him to deal with his original sadness and more new sadness. It’s the bleakest thing I’ve seen in a long time but it’s incredible. Casey Affleck is great. He plays a man, Lee Chandler, whose brother dies and he has to come back to his hometown to look after his nephew. His performance is really understated and he really suits the role. I think part of what I like is that things aren’t over explained. People’s emotions are conveyed by actions and they don’t have to tell you what they feel or think. The scene where Lee arrives at the hospital when his brother has died is great. The doctor is telling Lee about what happened and he interrupts him and just says “fuck this”. I think it feels like a real reaction. Casey Affleck really makes Lee seem like a man who is really trying to hold his shit together and is struggling. There is a scene at the end that feels like the conclusion to the story that is really powerful. I’m not going to get into it because it needs to be seen. If anyone ever reads this and has seen the film reach out to talk about it because it’s incredible and I could talk about it for ages but I really don’t want to ruin it.

Thinking of some little notes that I liked, the setting is New England again. Afflecks and New England is no surprise I suppose. We’re outside Boston this time. It’s a city by the sea and it’s funny, it’s so picturesque and dramatic that it reminded me of a Wes Anderson film. Obviously it’s the tonal opposite though.

The kid is great too. He’s played by Lucas Hedges. He works very well with Casey Affleck and there’s times when he’s a little bollocks and times where you really get him. His band are terrible.

Michelle Williams has a great scene later in the film that really changes the course of the story. Again, she’s very understated and she’s exactly what the role needed.

I really liked it. It’s not an easy watch but it’s 100% worth it.

27 April 2020 – Manchester by the Sea

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