Complete A-Z list

Manchester by the Sea


Stars: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol, Matthew Broderick, Chloe Dixon, Tom Kemp, Tate Donovan, Kara Hayward, Anna Baryshnikov

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Another highly-touted Oscar contender and, for me, another disappointment. The slow, broody scenario introduces us to Lee (Affleck), a grouchy, short-fused janitor and handyman working and living in Boston, Massachusetts.

Taciturn Lee is full of pent-up fury and apt to start fist fights in bars at zero provocation. It wouldn't be fair to reveal the cause of his misery, as the revelation comes quite late in the film, but safe to say that the Lee we meet is not a likeable man, with no friends or family, save a blowsy, foul-mouthed ex-wife (Williams) he almost never sees.

A typically dogged and lived-in performance by Affleck may well bring him reward at Oscar time, and Williams is also good, but the film itself is far too long, and its other performances fairly ordinary. It also has annoyingly fake snowflakes and a string of tiresome, turn-off, colourless characters.

There's lovely, wintry photography, however, presumably in the actual location. See it for the acting, perhaps, but have a flask of hot coffee handy.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Technicolor.
132 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 13 May 2017

DVD review