Manchester by the Sea ★★★★½

this is a review i did back when i first saw this in december, but this was requested by a pal so now we can all suffer reading through this once more


this is easily one of my favorite films of the year: I feel like Lonergan reached inside my head and pulled out everything I've ever dreamt of for a movie and put it into MBTS. the script is sharp and fresh. the cinematography is great, but even better are the moments where we linger: seemingly mundane moments are transformed into spaces to breathe, to grieve, to mourn. this is not a light film, but there is an organic lightness to it. this is a film about a defeatist, but the film itself is not defeated. someone somewhere online said that nothing happens in this film and it was boring and they hated it. this is not entirely untrue: nothing extraordinary, nothing revolutionary happens. and perhaps really nothing even changes. but as someone who loves films about the ordinary instant (see: every time i've ever cried over linklater), i am 100% here for this. i love to suffer in the ordinary; this is very much an exercise in the unredeemable and the unforgivable. it very much reminded me of Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life, except 10000x more polished and purposeful (side note: i have so many thoughts about A Little Life, and it's been nearly a year since I read that book. let's all say a small thing of gratitude that I don't also ramble on about every book I've ever read and hated and loved, because I don't think anyone could actually bear that burden of an impending disaster) anyway -- like A Little Life, this film is less about the things we can bear and process; this is a meditation on the things we cannot bear, the things we cannot move on from, the things we cannot and will not let go. there is no answer to this way of living. the film knows this. the characters and their dynamics are irrevocably stunted and limited by this knowledge, by this self-elected, self-inflicted albatross of punishment. it's realistic, but it's also gutting. it's honest, but it's also really fucking sad. but it's Real and that's why i love it (also bc I love to suffer :-) )

I have 10000% lost my train of thought, per usual, so I leave you with this: never stop being critical about the art and media you consume! question everything! engage with everything! tell your loved one you love them! make art! be kind to yourself! and also will someone buy me a ticket to Boston thank you! xxxxxxx

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