Manchester By The Sea ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Oscar season continues with this latest ‘Picture by Kenneth Lonergan’ as the film’s title announces at the beginning and that description is quite apt. The film is composed of snapshots and memories from these characters’ lives string together to tell a story. The narrative structure also relies heavily on flashbacks that hint and then quietly reveal the whats and whys that has happened to them and it is this clever structure and the way that it was almost effortlessly handled but very deliberately juxtaposing past and present events that made the storytelling here so effective and powerful. The cinematography is postcard worthy and there are strong performances by newcomer Lucas Hedges who feels very natural, even though, and this is probably just me, the way his character was written, he seems too nonchalant about his father’s death, compared to the stoic and more affected Casey Affleck, who at first feels oddly passive and distant until further revelations explain why he is so emotionally blocked and dejected and his performance comes to light at this point. What we got here is a sombre, deliberately paced, understating yet intriguing film with a smart script that feels unforced and a conclusion that is fiercely independent of Hollywood conventions for films of this genre.

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