Manchester by the Sea ★★★★

Kenneth Lonergan's films are very depressing. What makes MANCHESTER BY THE SEA move past its grief-stained tone is the reality that sometimes getting through another day is in itself a triumph. He proves that all it takes for redemption is to simply move the needle just a little bit. After all, in most movies, characters progress in leaps and bounds, overcoming emotional hurdles like an Olympic track star. Lonergan has no such delusions. His characters can only change incrementally, but sometimes that's enough. The story of Lee, played with tremendous minimalism by Casey Affleck, is that of a man whose self-loathing is so great that his only change can be something small, something seemingly insignificant to anyone by himself and those he loves.

If you are interested in being depressed for a couple hours, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is the movie for you. After that two hours, though, hopefully you might reflect on your own journey and see how you've moved the needle for yourself.