Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea ★★★★

Kenneth Lonergan should make more movies (this was only his third in 16 years), and Casey Affleck should star in them. Given how challenging it is to see any motion picture from conception through to the screen, this is probably not likely, but at least we will have this intense domestic drama to return to, even if many may not be eager to revisit it. It has frequently been compared to the 1980 Best Picture winner “Ordinary People,” which is apt. Here as there, a wrenching tragedy in the past continues to color the lives of those who survived it. But this movie is not the total downer that Robert Redford’s directorial accomplishment managed to be, thanks to injections of welcome humor. Michelle Williams is a bit underused, but Lucas Hedges’ debut feels like a once-in-a-generation comet.