Manchester by the Sea ★★★★★

Rarely do you find a film as raw as this, a film as powerful as this lacking any and all bombastic sensibilities. Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea is a quiet earthquake, a subdued wave of emotion presented with grace, naturalism and patience that resonates deeper than I like to admit. The film and all of it's insights are almost unbearably wise; digging deeper than I ever thought possible, as cathartic as it is entertaining. I find it difficult to articulate the greatness of this film without sounding redundant. Words like "real" and "relatable" are so often vomited in regards to so many films, but Manchester by the Sea earns them like nothing I've ever seen. Lee's struggle is a microcosm for the entire spectrum of human emotion, tapping into that universal pain inside everyone with therapeutic delicacy and spiritual efficacy. It's simply magnificent, a film lover's dream to watch all these artists work at the height of their talents. It's as brutal as it is gentle, as simple as it is complex. It's an ode to the transformative powers of grief and melancholy, a ringing testament to the fact that tragedy must be remembered rather than forgotten, assimilated rather than shunned. Affleck joins the ranks of the acting titans before him, as does Manchester by the Sea into the ranks of the greats. This is a sweeping, delicate and profound exploration of pain and growth with fully realized characters, tremendous honesty and extraordinary nuance. It's also the best film of the year.

2016 Ranked

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