Steve G’s review published on Letterboxd :
Not the film about coastal erosion I was expecting.
A little joke about geography and global warming for you there that most people outside of the UK won't understand and if that's the case, don't worry, you're not missing much.
This is a thinly veiled way of saying that I don't really have a lot to say about Manchester by the Sea. Not because I didn't appreciate it or anything, far from it, but more because I can't really assemble my thoughts on it and its themes. I probably need a few days with this one to properly formulate them but if I left it a few days then I'd probably forget to review it anyway, so here we are.
I don't think this film is a masterpiece or anything. It's superb, I don't disagree with that, and in a strange way it's almost refreshing to see a movie about grief where the main character just outright admits that they are never going to get over it. There isn't really going to be a warm and fuzzy ending, and the redemption is barely visible. And yes, that scene between Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams might be the best single scene I've watched all year.
But I also think it falters notably in a couple of places. Affleck starting rumbles in bars is such an obvious staple of 'a man is sad' films and one that didn't actually seem to fit a character who clearly wants to just shrink into the background and not be noticed. I know the alcohol may be talking but it still didn't really work for me. Plus, the mum of one of Lucas Hedges' girlfriends is possibly the stupidest movie parent of all time.
Still terrific though, obviously, with Affleck and Williams both quite remarkable. I think I made the right decision to not see it at the cinema though, it seemed more fitting for a Thursday afternoon on the couch with it pissing down outside.