Zach a.m.’s review published on Letterboxd :
Grief. Despair. Suffering.
This movie has it all.
Yet, such is the filmmaking masterclass that Kenneth Lonergan puts on, such is Casey Affleck's performance, that if this movie had ended with a rousing rendition of DJ Khaled's "Al I Do is Win" it wouldn't felt out of place whatsoever.
I don't hold a very high opinion of Lonergan's previous two films. You Can Count On Me was trying too hard, while Margaret was a tad scattershot. But Manchester by the Sea is perfection.
Affleck does so much with nothing but a look and the way he pockets his hands. The man barely strains himself, barely looks like he's breaking a sweat, and he crushes you all the same.
The way the movie is constructed, working in flashbacks seamlessly, is powerfully moving too. The way it dispenses information is masterful. The way it lets silences play out while making cuts in dialogue exhilarate me.
The way it deals with grief is incredibly accurate to me as well. Speaking from a similar experience with loss the movie really nails grief and the mix between it calmly washing over while it festers away inside of you, breaking out at inopportune moments.
For a movie that's so downbeat it is surprisingly funny though, breaking the ice at all the right moments while retaining its sorrow and thus remaining human.