Manchester by the Sea (2016)
By Kenneth Lonnergan
I’m very cautious with dramas. If the movie is not good enough to take me all the way to the catharsis, then all I’m left with afterwards is a bunch of bad emotions that haunt me like shadow for a couple of more days. But deep down I wanted to see Manchester by the Sea. Yes, I did wonder what role does the sea play, but that wouldn’t be enough for me to jump in a drama wagon. I was just really curious to see by myself the lauded and applauded Manchester by the Sea. I finally did it and I’m really thankful. It made me feel the beauty of raw awkwardness of life.
This movie is magic in the way how it portrays life. Yes, some moments hurt really bad. Like hitting the pavement with your teeth. I even turned it off in the middle – No, I don’t need that. – But after half a minute turned it back on, because there was an addictive feeling of something good inside. The director doesn’t have a bag full of tricks. He doesn’t play with you by pouring salt in the fresh wound. It’s drama with no melodrama. You trust this movie and go with those guys side by side to see that there is really nothing else to see but the awkward beauty of life.
All those tiny moments, that make you laugh away the fresh tears and dry out your wet eyes with side of your palm by knowing how beautiful the life is with its unexplainable body and no grand finale. No, not those zen-like moments of seeing a beautiful pebble in sun or how your coffee foams draw a line on your cup. No. Raw and awkward moments that put the big things and little things in one boat. Metaphysics of life and death with comic practicalities that you have to deal with on every step you take.
Manchester by the Sea will haunt me for a few more days, I’m sure, but in a good way. Why there is sea in it? What role does it play? It’s like asking – why there is sea at all? The beautiful awkwardness of having bunch of warm epiphanies along the way but having no clue of the big and glossy answers. Humane hum of your honest heart. Five stars.