Milez Das’s review published on Letterboxd :
Grief is different for everyone. It hits very hard when your loved die. Lee Chandler is handyman. We see him cleaning the snow, fixing bulbs, painting, etc. He is quiet, there is a sadness onto his face. He gets news that his brother Joe has just suffered a heart attack. As he drives to meet his brother at the hospital it gets too late and his brother has passed away, leaving Lee sole guardian of his son Patrick.
Lee is tormented by his past. A past that made him try suicide and move away. We go into his past, to understand his life, how he was before and what he is now. Lee can't stay in this town, but for Patrick it his home, it is where his school is, his two girlfriends, his band.. Patrick lays his option to Lee by telling him that he can move in with his mother but that isn't an option.
One of the most interesting part of the movie was how Patrick was dealing with his grief. I wasn't really understanding what he was going through... I mean here his father has just died and from whatever we have been shown from the past his father was a good man who took good care of him. We see Patrick giving in once only for the thing of freezing. Other than that Patrick his hung onto the boat his dad has left him, the motor he has to fix and those two girlfriends he wants to have sex. Weather he was avoiding it altogether or was just his process I really didn't get it.
For Lee, he still hasn't recovered from the loss he had suffered many years ago. The guilt that was going through his mind...It is something that he has to live with and fight everyday. And more to it that he feels more guilty is that he was never really punished for it. I mean yes, living with it it is still a punishment but Lee wants to suffer more than it is. When the scene where he explains what had happened to the police and when they say he is free to go, it just hits him real hard.
We as viewers are set in emotions that we really can't handle at times but it really hits us when Lee and his ex wife Randi meet...I mean I just couldn't handle myself there...Even when I am writing this there is some water in my eyes. The way Randi tries to reconnect with Lee and Lee just standing there wanting to tell her she has done nothing wrong and her treatment for him was justifiable. And when he says 'There is nothing there' that is when you really want to pause the movie and start to cry really hard. The scene is very simple in nature, there are words with simple sentences but the emotion behind them is so hard that even a simple word will set you on a emotional spree.
Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler gives one of the best performances you can see...I really didn't want to praise Casey here but he really knocks it out of the park. I mean you can just feel everything just looking at his face and read everything looking into his eyes.
Michelle Williams has really limited screen time here but the scene with her and Casey is just like where Cinema peaked.
Lucas Hedges as Patrick is well in his supporting role and gives dimension to his character leaving us to search what he really felt. i really went back to Whiplash when he hand his band is practicing and I just wanted J K Simmons there to yell at that drummer for rushing and dragging at times and just say Not my Tempo.
Also the scenes of Patrick with Sandy trying to have sex and Sandy's mother Jill always interrupting them and just making her mind tell her that they are doing Algebra up there...Yep, there was some real Algebra going up there, only thing was that they just couldn't prove it.
Kenneth Lonergan the Writer and Director of this movie is the one we should applaud. He beautifully yet so delicately tell us something about grief and guilt that goes with it.
Manchester by the Sea is a life of a man who is till trying to recover from his past tragedy and his hit with another, he is calmly trying to pick up the scraps he has left with. He has nothing there to give or take, just to live till the light goes off.