20170301: Drama Review--Manchester by the Sea

Name: Manchester by the Sea (2016)
IMDb: link to Manchester by the Sea page

Genres: Drama.   Country of origin: USA.

Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler, Michelle Williams as Randi Chandler, Kyle Chandler as Joe Chandler, Gretchen Mol as Elise Chandler, Lucas Hedges as Patrick Chandler.

Written and directed by: Kenneth Lonergan.
Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler

The Three Acts:

The initial tableaux:
Lee Chandler is the jack of all trades supervisor of a so-so apartment building.  He is frank and unapologetic is his assessments of the tenants problems.  They complain; his boss transmits the thunder to him; he does not care.

His brother Joe dies.  He has to pick up the pieces, including deciding whether to take care of his nephew Patrick, Joe's son.

Delineation of conflicts:
Lee has to deal with his memories of living with his ex-wife Randi and their three children, plus the fire that ended the marriage.  After Joe dies, he deals with Patrick and Randi.  His brother's will expresses Joe's desire that Lee be Patrick's guardian.

If he decides to be Patrick's guardian, he has to move back to Manchester, where his life was destroyed of his own hand.

Resolution: There is nothing that can be resolved.  Life sucks for Lee, mostly by his own doing.  Can he find a better place?  It does not matter.  His life will still suck.

One line summary:
Reckless drunk loses family in fire.
Michelle Williams as Randi Chandler; Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler


Cinematography: 3/10 This was quite variable.  Much of it looks like bad TV photography.  Other parts look rich and detailed and beautiful.  The mix is distracting.  I expect to remember none of the visuals.

Sound: 5/10 Noisy.  Most of the sound seems pointless or irrelevant, like much of the background music.

Acting: 4/10 Acting?  High-end high school plays have comparable performances.

Screenplay: 2/10 The main character is worthless.  I do not care whether he redeems his life after his brother dies or not.  In terms of plot flow, I disliked the many flashbacks.  In the first third of the film, I lost track of where the film's shattered narrative was in time.  About that time, I quit caring.

Final rating: 3/10 Please Amazon, I hope future productions feature better writing.