Manchester by the Sea (2016) Review

Updated on January 22, 2018
Ross Tanenbaum profile image

Ross is a student at the University of Maryland. He is planning on majoring in Film Studies and English.

A Well-Acted, Well-Directed Snooze


Audiences love when movies have a nice, heartwarming, happy ending. However, some movies are meant to be realistic and do not try to satisfy the audience. They want to give a brutal look at reality and the many tragedies that occur in life.


Manchester By the Sea is a story that centers around Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck). He faced a horrible tragedy and has had a tough time getting over this event. After his brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler), dies he becomes the guardian of his son, Patrick (Lucas Hedges).

The story follows both Hedges and Affleck as they both try to adapt to the situation. Hedges has to deal with the loss of his father, while Affleck has to try to move on from his own horrible tragedy in order to take care of his brother's kid. Their relationship in the movie is the main plot point that drives this movie and it is very intriguing to watch.


All of the performances in this movie are great. Affleck gives an amazing performance in this movie. He is a good guy, but he is clearly scarred by what happened in the past. He definitely will deserve an Oscar nomination. Hedges also gives a great performance as someone who is just trying to move on with his life and also help his uncle.

Their is also good supporting performances in the movie. Chandler is good as the brother who appears in the flashbacks in the movie. Michelle Williams is also good as Affleck's ex-wife except she is in the movie for like 15 minutes.


The direction in the movie is also fantastic. There a lot of beautiful shots in the movie. Kenneth Lonergan directed this movie and he did a great job. He also wrote the script and the dialogue is really good.

While the directing and performances are great, the pacing of this movie is pretty bad. I was so bored during this movie. There are a lot of scenes that just go on and nothing happens. It is such a slow movie. Another problem I had was with the character arcs. The characters really do not change throughout the entire movie. When the movie ends, it seems as though nothing was accomplished.

Final Thoughts

Manchester By the Sea was a little bit disappointing. While it is a very well made movie with great performances, it is very slow and boring at times. It is still worth watching because it has great direction and amazing performances. However, because of the slow pacing and the depressing subject material, I cannot see myself watching this movie again.

Rating: 7/10


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