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Manchester by the Sea (2016)


hendersonrocks
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I would be more eager to see this if not for the very strong claims of sexual assault and harassment by Casey Affleck. By all reports the acting and writing are top-notch.

I struggled with this since I had just read about it a few days before seeing the film. I generally thought he was a douchecanoe in real life already, and these allegations made me ill. (I also wondered if I was being hypocritical in seeing this, since I refused to see The Birth of a Nation because of Nate Parker & his co-writer's past & total inability to handle the situation with any sort of grace. #tangent) Anyways, I did some mental gymnastics that I'll spare you and decided to go anyways.

Lucas Hedges, who plays his teenage nephew, is extraordinary. Michelle Williams is also pretty amazing, and Kyle Chandler does amazing things in just a few scenes with very few words.

And on a purely superficial and non-spoilery note, I'm super curious what Kenneth Lonergan's - or someone in the production's - connection to Minnetonka, Minnesota is. It's mentioned a few times in a throwaway (but funny) kind of way, and is...where I went to high school. RANDOM. Every time it came up our Minnesotan movie theater got the giggles.

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I also wondered if I was being hypocritical in seeing this, since I refused to see The Birth of a Nation because of Nate Parker & his co-writer's past

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Funny you should say that...

Good piece, thanks for sharing. Part of it, for me, was feeling like rape and the portrayal of women as weak and needing to be saved by a man was a key part of Parker's film - and was seen as being historically inaccurate...thus basically reinforcing the issues surrounding him & Celestin and their treatment of women (since, well, they wrote it). I absolutely see the hypocrisy and believe race and the Damon-Affleck industrial complex are at play with the treatment of this film, however. It bothers me no mainstream pieces seem to be talking about the Affleck allegations while they certainly referenced Parker's. I also FEEL for the cast and crew whose work gets wrapped up in this, time and again, because grown ass men don't know how to respect women.

Edited by hendersonrocks
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I wonder if mainstream media would have reference Parker past if Parker had never gave those initial interviews with Deadline and THR(?) in order to get ahead of the story. Before those interviews, only certain segments of people on social media knew about it.

Society doesn't care about women sadly 

Edited by gator12
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Wow.  Such a heart breaking movie.  You really feel for the kid who nobody really wants.  I don't see Michelle Williams getting an Oscar, her scenes are too small, but the one scene between her and Affleck on the street is an absolute joy to watch.  And yet tearjerking.  I don't know if Oscar voters will really be able to vote for a character who is so stoic, but I guess we'll see.  The writing is superb.  Such realistic language, especially in how people talk over each other.  I wonder how much of the dialogue was improvised by the actors.

Lucas Hedges did a great job, too. Can't wait to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

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Oh my goodness, I saw this movie last night and it was so heavy. I kept on hearing that it was surprisingly funny, and there were some small moments, but otherwise this kept punching me in the gut over and over again. It did remind me of that Seth Meyers' Boston Accent bit because there were so.many.terrible.accents *looks directly at Tate Donovan, catches Kyle Chandler in peripheral vision and turns attention to him*

Casey Affleck's character felt a bit tired. I feel like I've seen this character in 100 Oscar bait movies. He did have a lot of poignant moments, especially when he was being interviewed at the police station. He and Lucas Hedges also had amazing chemistry. Michelle Williams was phenomenal. I agree her role was probably too small to win an Oscar, but she owned every moment she was on screen. She really brought Randy to life in the few scenes she had. Lucas Hedges was also really good. He was super charming. I look forward to seeing where his career goes.

I'm on the fence with the directing. I really enjoyed the moments when things were happening out of frame, but we could hear it and knew exactly what was going on (Patty's mom going into the kitchen during their awkward lunch, for example.) But there were so many random shots of water in between scenes, and some of the shots looked identical, to the point that it looked like stock footage. I was less impressed by that.

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On 12/3/2016 at 6:20 PM, Silver Raven said:

Lucas Hedges did a great job, too.

 

On 12/4/2016 at 3:48 PM, absnow54 said:

Lucas Hedges was also really good.

My favorite scene of his is when he goes into Lee's bedroom after Lee loses it at the bar and he sees the photos of the kids and you see it fall into place for him and he just gets it. A great piece of wordless acting.

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On 11/28/2016 at 10:43 AM, hendersonrocks said:

I also wondered if I was being hypocritical in seeing this, since I refused to see The Birth of a Nation because of Nate Parker & his co-writer's past & total inability to handle the situation with any sort of grace. #tangent

Beyond the usual white male privilege and racial dynamics, I believe there are a few differences between the two:

  • This film, to my knowledge, wasn't hailed as some revolutionary game-changer with early Oscar buzz. 
  • The article posted upthread was from 2010 (and the alleged assault and harassment seem to have occurred in 2009) - social media didn't have nearly the influence on mainstream news and popular culture that it does today.  I suspect the allegations would have been much more high profile if they came to light this year, especially in contrast to Nate Parker. 
  • To my knowledge, Casey Affleck has not given utterly and completely tone deaf interviews specifically about the allegations in an attempt to "get ahead" of the bad press. 
  • The allegations against Affleck, while gross and disturbing, are tonally (in public perception) less severe than Parker's.  I've not found anything that specifies Affleck was brought up on criminal charges.  
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While the performances were excellent. This is what might be called a "gilded turd" not a particularly good film, but it resembles one. The problem is that there are no characters that one can root for or identify with except the dead brother, and he's dead.

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We saw this film yesterday and it's still in my mind.  That music (when he's walking through the snow to the convenience storeis a beautiful piece but I'll never hear it again w/o thinking of this film.  I don't want to mention too much in case anyone hasn't seen it yet but I loved the beautiful snowy scenes of this New England town, complete with gorgeous colonial houses.  To me, it was in stark contrast to the main character's life/mood.  Now, I must add that seeing Casey Affleck in this role reminded me of his character in Gone Baby Gone (same way of talking, same accent).  I haven't seen him in any other movies so I don't know if he can "stretch" into a completely different character.  I thoroughly enjoyed Lucas Hedges and thought he did a great job with his role as nephew Patrick (and thank God for the occasional humorous dialogue!)  I'll recommend the movie to most friends but did warn away a friend who has gone through a similar tragedy.

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On 12/11/2016 at 7:09 PM, Notwisconsin said:

While the performances were excellent. This is what might be called a "gilded turd" not a particularly good film, but it resembles one. The problem is that there are no characters that one can root for or identify with except the dead brother, and he's dead.

I agree with all of your post except for the excellent performances part. With the exception of one exceptional scene by Michelle Williams the performances were not there for me. Nothing felt nuanced or natural. I don't understand all the accolades this thing is getting and the 97% at Rotten Tomatoes baffles me. It felt endless and very little worked for me. I will be greatly disappointed if this wins Best Picture. It absolutely pales in comparison with Hell or High Water

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I finally got to see this yesterday and I'm still thinking about it. It was so tense - I felt weirdly like I was on the edge of my seat somehow, because there was constantly this tension running through it. Not just before the big reveal about Lee's past, but afterwards, too. 

On 2016-12-04 at 1:20 AM, Silver Raven said:

The writing is superb.  Such realistic language, especially in how people talk over each other.

I really enjoyed this, too. The dialogue felt real, not over-scripted. They sounded like real people.

There were quite a few smaller things I appreciated, like Patrick's friends coming over to hug him after he was told what happened, and their Star Trek conversation that night. Patrick getting stuck on the freezer thing; that felt very real to me, how this one thing becomes very important. Also, the continued theme of Lee's "It's up to you, what do you want to do?" whenever he was faced with making a decision on someone else's behalf. He just wouldn't. I thought that was a nice touch in the end, showing that maybe he'd gotten *somewhere*, when he finally made actual arrangements for Patrick.

I actually feel like I want to see it again, as heavy as it was, to be able to take it all in.

ETA - so, listening to Hamilton's "It's Quiet Uptown" with this movie still on your mind? Ouch. "If you see him in the street, walking by himself, talking to himself, have pity; he is going through the unimaginable."

Edited by Schweedie
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I really loved this movie. It's sat well with me since I saw it, I keep thinking about it still. I know it was a downer, but it felt so authentic with all the little details of life and the relationship between Lee and Patrick. I think it was brave not to give the audience what it wanted at the end, in terms of what happened with Patrick's arrangements. Lee's brother knew it would be good for him to have a new responsibility in his life, but Lee refused to stop punishing himself for what he did. He'll be doing that for the rest of his life because he thinks he deserves it. That's pretty intense.

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On 12/11/2016 at 2:41 PM, ribboninthesky1 said:

 I've not found anything that specifies Affleck was brought up on criminal charges.  

I do believe that's because Affleck settled....

But I am pretty disgusted with the hypocrisy...to say, "well, affleck's allegations were not as bad" I call BS on that, Parker was found not innocent yet no one was bringing that into the discussion and instead his movie tanked.  Total hypocrisy.

As for the movie, I loved it.  I thought Affleck was great and totally deserving of all this hype.  Was not that impressed by Michelle Williams (she wasn't in it enough) but Affleck was good, so, so good.  The nephew was really good too, I see now why he is getting nominated as well.

 

Spoiler's below*****

Spoiler

I may be crazy in wondering this, but if you noticed in the movie, they did not show the three pictures of his kids he had framed....in the scene where Patrick goes into his room and stares at the pictures, I started thinking, "are those pictures of dead bodies?"  I mean, they didn't show the pictures, Patrick stared at them for quite a while, and it seemed like something Lee's character would do.  I mean, it's not like he would have pictures of them, everything in the house burned.  My mom said the line that really got her was in the end when he said to Patrick "I just can't beat it."  So heartbreaking, but I totally get why he couldn't stay there...who could....who would? The scene that really stuck out for me was the suicide attempt scene.

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On 12/26/2016 at 2:47 PM, ruby24 said:

I really loved this movie. It's sat well with me since I saw it, I keep thinking about it still. I know it was a downer, but it felt so authentic with all the little details of life and the relationship between Lee and Patrick. I think it was brave not to give the audience what it wanted at the end, in terms of what happened with Patrick's arrangements. Lee's brother knew it would be good for him to have a new responsibility in his life, but Lee refused to stop punishing himself for what he did. He'll be doing that for the rest of his life because he thinks he deserves it. That's pretty intense.

My mom said this almost verbatim afterward. (We wanted to see something else but it was sold out and this was playing at the same time. She wanted to see it more than I did.) Joe knew it would be good for Lee to have a new responsibility and he knew Lee loved Pat (the scenes of the three of them on the boat when Pat was a kid were lovely - when Lee came home and told his wife that Pat had caught an 18-pound bluefish, he sounded so proud and happy) but he also knew (as did Lee) that he'd say no if asked, so he set it up so that Lee couldn't say no. Or so he thought, but as Lee said, he couldn't beat it. That scene in the police station when Lee realizes he isn't going to be punished and tries to kill himself, and then seeing his ex-wife try to convince him that he deserves some happiness but that he's just not going to allow that were really sad.

On 12/10/2016 at 5:57 PM, AimingforYoko said:

My favorite scene of his is when he goes into Lee's bedroom after Lee loses it at the bar and he sees the photos of the kids and you see it fall into place for him and he just gets it. A great piece of wordless acting.

Yeah. You think that maybe he didn't understand what happened to Lee; he was a kid too, when it happened. But now he's got his own loss to deal with (that scene with the freezer was really something), so he knows loss better, and that is really an immeasurable loss. There was an addict featured on the show Intervention who lost three of her four kids in a fire, and I watched that and thought, "No wonder you do drugs." It's horrible.

What did people make of the lunch scene with the mother and mother's fiance?

On the shallow side of things, Tate Donovan's New England accent was awful. E for effort, but ... naw.

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8 hours ago, Empress1 said:

What did people make of the lunch scene with the mother and mother's fiance?

In retrospect I think it went on a little longer than necessary. I get why the scene was needed, because it showed how Patrick was running out of possibilities that would let him stay, but I think a brief shot of them quietly, awkwardly eating lunch would have been enough to get the point across that it wasn't a success like Patrick hoped it would be, especially with his line to Lee in the car afterwards, about how Lee would do anything to get rid of him. That line alone was enough to show how awkward it had been and that he definitely didn't want to stay with them.

8 hours ago, Empress1 said:

You think that maybe he didn't understand what happened to Lee; he was a kid too, when it happened.

This was one of the few quibbles I had, actually, that Patrick didn't seem to understand at all at first why Lee didn't want to stay there. Sure, he was a kid when it happened, but it seems like everyone in town is highly aware of it, even the high school kids. But yeah, it might just be that he didn't truly understand how that kind of loss doesn't go away - it's easy to think when you're a teenager that maybe time heals all wounds, and it's been years. (Do we know how many years passed, by the way? How old was Patrick in the flashbacks? Casey Affleck has a really young-looking face, and still looked like early 30s in the present timeline to me.)

I got to read the screenplay, and in all the bleakness I've clung to how it describes Lee in a final scene; "He looks a little better than we've seen him." So it does end on a hopeful note, at least.

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2 hours ago, Schweedie said:

In retrospect I think it went on a little longer than necessary. I get why the scene was needed, because it showed how Patrick was running out of possibilities that would let him stay, but I think a brief shot of them quietly, awkwardly eating lunch would have been enough to get the point across that it wasn't a success like Patrick hoped it would be, especially with his line to Lee in the car afterwards, about how Lee would do anything to get rid of him. That line alone was enough to show how awkward it had been and that he definitely didn't want to stay with them.

This was one of the few quibbles I had, actually, that Patrick didn't seem to understand at all at first why Lee didn't want to stay there. Sure, he was a kid when it happened, but it seems like everyone in town is highly aware of it, even the high school kids. But yeah, it might just be that he didn't truly understand how that kind of loss doesn't go away - it's easy to think when you're a teenager that maybe time heals all wounds, and it's been years. (Do we know how many years passed, by the way? How old was Patrick in the flashbacks? Casey Affleck has a really young-looking face, and still looked like early 30s in the present timeline to me.)

I got to read the screenplay, and in all the bleakness I've clung to how it describes Lee in a final scene; "He looks a little better than we've seen him." So it does end on a hopeful note, at least.

When the hockey team saw Lee at the rink, there was an exchange like "THE Lee Chandler?" "Yeah, but you know that story is bullshit." The woman who worked ... wherever Lee looked for work in Manchester said she didn't want to see him in there again. So I'm guessing that the rumor mill spun the story that Lee set the fire on purpose. So that's one more thing to deal with.

Young Patrick looked to be 8-10 to me and he was 16 in present day. That's really not that long for that kind of loss - children. An infant. (Casey Affleck is 41 - he does have a young face. I remember in Gone Baby Gone, someone asks Casey Affleck his age and he gives it, and his girlfriend says "He just looks young.")

I thought the film did end on a kind of hopeful note; you get the sense that Lee isn't going to just vanish. Maybe he will have Pat come stay with him in the summer.

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I may be crazy in wondering this, but if you noticed in the movie, they did not show the three pictures of his kids he had framed....in the scene where Patrick goes into his room and stares at the pictures, I started thinking, "are those pictures of dead bodies?"  I mean, they didn't show the pictures, Patrick stared at them for quite a while, and it seemed like something Lee's character would do.  I mean, it's not like he would have pictures of them, everything in the house burned.

Nah, I don't think so. Other people would have had pictures of the kids - Joe, his parents (his father was still alive when they died), his wife's family. I'm sure they'd have given them to him.

Edited by Empress1
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3 hours ago, Empress1 said:

Young Patrick looked to be 8-10 to me and he was 16 in present day. That's really not that long for that kind of loss - children. An infant. (Casey Affleck is 41 - he does have a young face. I remember in Gone Baby Gone, someone asks Casey Affleck his age and he gives it, and his girlfriend says "He just looks young.")

Yeah, that was about my guess, too. Casey Affleck's appearance threw me off, I think - in the flashbacks Lee sort of seems early to mid-20s. In that scene where he says goodbye to Joe and leaves for Boston he looks like a hurt, broken-down kid. And yeah, seven or so years really isn't long at all for that kind of loss.

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Went to see it today because I love Kyle Chandler. Hard to see Coach Taylor drop f-bombs and die. It was a very good movie. Didn't know much, not why Lee was so damaged. With all the big budget movies now, this is a good choice for adults.  

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On 12/29/2016 at 10:40 PM, jacksgirl said:

Went to see it today because I love Kyle Chandler. Hard to see Coach Taylor drop f-bombs and die.

Heh - I think "Oh no, Coach Taylor!" every time I watch Bloodline. (Although I think Coach Taylor would say "fuck" on the field.)

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That was probably my favorite of the Oscar Bait movies I have seen so far, being as I spent half the time fighting back tears. So many great performances here, especially from the kid who played Patrick. And from the always awesome Kyle Chandler, who managed to give us a really full portrait of a person, despite limited screen time. I felt the same about Michelle Monahan, who only had a few scenes, but she gave a great performance. 

It was a sad movie, really sad, but the cinematography was gorgeous, and I loved all the East Coast winter scenes, combined with all the sadness going on. That being said, I thought there were some lighter moments, and a lot of great slice of life scenes that make this movie a lot more than just a slough of depression to sit through. It was certainly sad, but it was sad for a purpose, not just angst for angsts sake. And I thought we ended on probably the most hopeful note we could, with Lee connecting with people again, even if its in a limited capacity, and everyone moving on with their lives, slowly. Ending with Patrick and Lee fishing together was about as good as Lee could do, at least for now. 

My one complaint would be some of the musical choices. Some of the more subtle stuff was great, but some of the big operatic stuff seemed way too dramatic for a movie dealing with these real life problems. It almost sounded like music you would hear in a parody. 

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The movie was fine, though i have to admit that after awhile the New England coastal town cutaway scenes bordered on affectation.

The character Affleck played was credible enough, someone cut off and unable to work through their feelings of guilt and sadness, but I actually found his dilemma one note, in that seven years afterwards and stuck in his existential angst there was nothing there more to process.   

However from what I gathered, his final decision for his nephew bordered on actually something, i.e. deciding that it was more harmful for the kid to be with him, so I suppose that was growth on some level, but so much of it seem like emotional erosion, it's happening, it's accurate, but it's not all that interesting.

Agree with others that the tragedy was made to appear somehow more monstrous per the townspeople's comments,yet as played out it doesn't seem as such a criminal or heinous act.

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Agree with others that the tragedy was made to appear somehow more monstrous per the townspeople's comments,yet as played out it doesn't seem as such a criminal or heinous act.

I wonder if the drinking and drugs - which were mentioned fairly quickly while he was being interviewed in the police station - are part of this and it just didn't come through clearly enough on screen. I can see the judgment of him being a lot more harsh if everyone knew he was drunk and high on cocaine when it happened.

The biggest beef I have is the portrayal of Manchester by the Sea as a working class kind of community. It REALLY isn't, at least any more. It's hella affluent - the median household income is in the six figures. Some of the other towns they filmed in (Beverly, Gloucester, Salem) are a lot closer, economically, to what the movie portrays.

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55 minutes ago, hendersonrocks said:

I wonder if the drinking and drugs - which were mentioned fairly quickly while he was being interviewed in the police station - are part of this and it just didn't come through clearly enough on screen. I can see the judgment of him being a lot more harsh if everyone knew he was drunk and high on cocaine when it happened.

I wondered about this, actually - laws may be different over in the US, but where I am he'd almost certainly be charged with something like involuntary manslaughter or criminal negligence, especially considering the drinking and the drugs, so I felt like they sort of skipped over that part. Would they really just say "you just made a horrible mistake" and let him go in this situation? But yeah, I just assumed that was the main issue for those who wanted nothing to do with him; there was a whole bunch of them partying there that night, so I'm sure it would've gotten out.

On 2017-01-03 at 0:02 AM, tennisgurl said:

t was a sad movie, really sad, but the cinematography was gorgeous, and I loved all the East Coast winter scenes, combined with all the sadness going on. That being said, I thought there were some lighter moments, and a lot of great slice of life scenes that make this movie a lot more than just a slough of depression to sit through. It was certainly sad, but it was sad for a purpose, not just angst for angsts sake. And I thought we ended on probably the most hopeful note we could, with Lee connecting with people again, even if its in a limited capacity, and everyone moving on with their lives, slowly.

The bolded - that was exactly how I felt, too. What I thought was interesting was that as sad as it was I never felt like the film was *trying* to make me cry. I'm allergic to feeling emotionally manipulated and usually end up the opposite (Pay it Forward and Million Dollar Baby being prime examples), even when it works, but even with the music choices (which for some reason didn't really bother me) and some of the more heartbreaking scenes I never got that feeling here. It was just this sad story being rolled out in front of us, showing us this slice of life in an almost matter-of-fact way much of the time.

I went to see it again and somehow I was just as tense the second time, even knowing what was coming, and clearly I wasn't alone - during that moment where Lee's walking back to the house and suddenly realises something is wrong, a woman behind me gasped and whispered "Oh, no!" with such despair I wanted to turn around and go "RIGHT?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

I took the ending to show how Patrick was pushing Lee to fight his inherent disaffection with the world around him (his coping mechanism). When the ball bounces just behind him and starts back down the hill he says to Patrick, "Forget about it" but Patrick grabs it and passes it back to him, and they resume tossing it back and forth. It was a nice little moment showing how much he was helping his uncle even if it wasn't outright or conscious. 

The motivation for not wanting to be the guardian felt like new territory for me. Normally when we see that situation (though normally in light comedies) it's about some selfish single person learning to take on responsibility and change their life. Lee was by all indications a good father and a caring person prior to the fire. He loved his kids, and nephew, and new how to interact with them.

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Finally got to see this movie as well, so I'm almost caught up on all on the big Oscar films (will try and see Hidden Figures this week.)  Pretty intense and hard to watch at times, but I really enjoyed it.  It took a while for me to get into it, because at first, Lee just seemed like another mopey, conflicted protagonist, dealing with anger and a mysterious past, but once he got to Manchester and they revealed what happened to him, it all started coming together and I warmed up to him.  Casey Affleck was good; even great; but didn't blow me a way, so I'm wondering if the reason he is dominating the awards so far is just because the competition is weak.  It's too bad he's a creep, because he is talented.

Lucas Hedges though, did blow me a way.  Probably one of my favorite portrayals of a teenager, where he can be immature and unlikable one moment, and then sympathetic and relatable the next.  He and Casey were spectacular together too.  Really can't wait to see where he goes from here.

Michelle Williams wasn't in it for very long, but she sure made the most of her big "lunch" scene.

Can't go wrong with Kyle Chandler as the late brother.  After-all, you need someone who you only see in a few flashbacks, but have to believe that he was great enough of a guy to have an impact on Lee, Patrick, and the town of Manchester, and I certainly buy Coach Taylor would do that!

Since they got Gretchen Mol to play Elise, all I could think was "Sure, she doesn't seem like a great mother, but compared to Gillian Darmondy on Boardwalk Empire, she's actually not too bad!"  Matthew Broderick showing up as her Christian fiancée was a bit random.

Kenneth Lonergan may have gone a bit overboard with all the scenic shots, but they were still beautiful.  And cold.  Like, I was shivering at times just watching it.  I can only imagine now Casey, Lucas, and crew were feeling!  I also like the scenes where he shot it from a distance, like we were spying on the characters.

Overall, really good, although I still am rooting for Moonlight to take Best Picture (and knowing that it will likely be La La Land.)

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Is it wrong that I felt Lee was totally justified in turning down Randi's attempt to reconnect with him? On one hand, it was a terrible tragedy for the both of them, and I do believe her remorse for the way she treated him was genuine. On the other hand, it was a little late for that. Especially since she had already replaced him with her new husband. She could have reached out to him before that.

I know that sounds cold blooded, but you can't always turn back the clock.

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3 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Is it wrong that I felt Lee was totally justified in turning down Randi's attempt to reconnect with him? On one hand, it was a terrible tragedy for the both of them, and I do believe her remorse for the way she treated him was genuine. On the other hand, it was a little late for that. Especially since she had already replaced him with her new husband. She could have reached out to him before that.

I know that sounds cold blooded, but you can't always turn back the clock.

I can understand totally why he couldn't reconnect.  There was too much history.

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6 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Is it wrong that I felt Lee was totally justified in turning down Randi's attempt to reconnect with him? On one hand, it was a terrible tragedy for the both of them, and I do believe her remorse for the way she treated him was genuine. On the other hand, it was a little late for that. Especially since she had already replaced him with her new husband. She could have reached out to him before that.

I know that sounds cold blooded, but you can't always turn back the clock.

I never took his declining on the lunch and reconnecting with her as anything to actually do with *her* or how she'd treated him - I've no doubt he felt he deserved whatever she said to him (she says "I was wrong" and he says "No") and it probably wasn't worse than anything he said to himself. Seeing her just brought everything back because of what she represented and made it hurt too much, and he couldn't do it. Which is totally understandable at that point, he wasn't in a place where he could accept any kind of forgiveness or compassion from her. (In my head, because this stupid movie invaded my brain, he will eventually get to that point later post-movie ending. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.)

So yeah, I think he was justified, so to speak, in turning her down, but I do think it was all to do with him and not with her.

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On 12/29/2016 at 0:41 PM, Schweedie said:

Yeah, that was about my guess, too. Casey Affleck's appearance threw me off, I think - in the flashbacks Lee sort of seems early to mid-20s. In that scene where he says goodbye to Joe and leaves for Boston he looks like a hurt, broken-down kid. And yeah, seven or so years really isn't long at all for that kind of loss.

Well, if you think about it, Randy is most likely still in her 30's, which means Lee probably still is, too. Michelle is in her mid-30's, and I figured Randy had to be about her age, maybe a few years older but not by much. I mean, having a baby after 40 is possible, but it gets much harder. The oldest kid they had didn't look to be older than 8/9, and you could figure they had her when they were in high school or just out of it, and that would probably put them somewhere in the second half of their 20's when they lost their kids. They totally seemed like they had to be young parents.

I liked how they had Randy's hairstyle in the flashbacks- it was a very young girl kind of hairstyle that was pretty popular during the second half of the 2000's, which is where you figure everything is taking place. (8 or years ago from 2015 in this movie would take you back to about 2007 or so, and her hair looked pretty spot-on for that year.) It made Randy look and seem like a younger person.

I thought the first bar scene was really interesting, and set up the mindset of the character. My interpretation of the scene is that Lee thinks those two guys across the bar are looking at him because they're all, "Let's pity the drunk fool", and because he's on hyper-alert about being whispered about because of his experience in Manchester. But I figure those guys were actually checking him out- they definitely gave off a gay vibe to me, and Lee is not an unattractive-looking guy. I did think that was an interesting theme that shows up throughout the movie- Lee's a good-looking guy, and people notice it, but he's in no way able to take people up on that offer even it's someone he could be attracted to, as opposed to the nephew, who is trying to fuck his way through high school.

The movie is sticking with me. It made me think a lot about the way one can just shut down after grief hits you. Some people can move forward and engage in life. Sometimes you just can't. I've been to both sides of that coin. Though I haven't suffered the kind of loss Lee did, I did have a really good friend die about three years ago. Parts of me shut down, and while I have moved on, some parts of me are broken, probably permanently. In Lee's case, as he put it, there's nothing left. And I like that the movie didn't offer up some easy resolution for Lee. He really can't move back to Manchester and reunite with his ex-wife and raise his nephew in his brother's house. It's not possible, but what he's able to do is offer his nephew a room in his apartment for whenever he wants to visit. So eventually, he just might end up okay.

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Patrick getting stuck on the freezer thing; that felt very real to me, how this one thing becomes very important. Also, the continued theme of Lee's "It's up to you, what do you want to do?" whenever he was faced with making a decision on someone else's behalf. He just wouldn't. I thought that was a nice touch in the end, showing that maybe he'd gotten *somewhere*, when he finally made actual arrangements for Patrick.

I honestly thought they were going to decide to cremate the brother and then spread his ashes in the sea. Probably would have been a bit much, though.

Also, the nephew gave off such strong Young Matt Damon vibes to me. (Matt was originally supposed to play Lee, so if they had cast this kid in mind as his relative, kudos to them.) That kid needs to play Matt Damon's son in something. I'm glad he got an Oscar nomination...hopefully he can do something with it.

Edited by methodwriter85
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Some really good stuff there @methodwriter85. I like your interpretations.

Lee certainly seems like a guy who is living now out of duty and loyalty to his brother, both before his death and after. But he certainly doesn't enjoy living. There's no pursuit of happiness. He can lose himself in Bruins or Celtics game with a beer and it's a bit of relief but that's it. Joe gave him something to pursue, and he slowly begins to embrace that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am happy with Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor.  Casey Affleck's performance was just gutting.  And I really hate the whole "I'm drunk so I can get away with beating up random strangers in bars" schtick, so the character's introduction made me dislike Lee.  Casey's portrayal was so real and vivid (which seems odd because it was also understated) that I gradually came to love Lee, even as I still hated his weaknesses.  I saw the move a month ago and it is sill resonating with me. 

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Count me in as someone who was happy to see this get recognized for best original screenplay over La La Land! And while I didn't see Fences yet, I'm glad Casey A. won, very deserving performance.

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On ‎1‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 1:22 PM, Schweedie said:

The bolded - that was exactly how I felt, too. What I thought was interesting was that as sad as it was I never felt like the film was *trying* to make me cry. I'm allergic to feeling emotionally manipulated and usually end up the opposite (Pay it Forward and Million Dollar Baby being prime examples), even when it works, but even with the music choices (which for some reason didn't really bother me) and some of the more heartbreaking scenes I never got that feeling here. It was just this sad story being rolled out in front of us, showing us this slice of life in an almost matter-of-fact way much of the time.

Very late in responding to this - but I finally just saw the movie yesterday - and this is exactly my feelings on it.  And why I think it resonated so well with me.  Many movies love to show somebody enduring a horrific tragedy, but then, all of a sudden having an epiphany that "life is beautiful" and "life goes on," ect. 

But no, in reality, MANY people who endured what Lee endured never "get over it."  I mean, yes, they get out of bed every day and go to work and pay their bills.  But they never really go back to living.  I loved that there wasn't a whole lot of dialogue about it either; but how his line "I can't get past it" really just encapsulated this sentiment.

That said, that last scene between Lee and his ex-wife killed me.  Ugly tears.  So well done.  They said so much without saying much at all. 

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On 1/23/2017 at 4:59 PM, thuganomics85 said:

Matthew Broderick showing up as her Christian fiancée was a bit random.
 

Broderick had a pretty substantial supporting role in Lonnergan's 2000 film You Can Count On Me, another favorite of mine.  Great casting, I thought.

On 2/5/2017 at 0:35 AM, methodwriter85 said:

Well, if you think about it, Randy is most likely still in her 30's, which means Lee probably still is, too. Michelle is in her mid-30's, and I figured Randy had to be about her age, maybe a few years older but not by much. I mean, having a baby after 40 is possible, but it gets much harder. The oldest kid they had didn't look to be older than 8/9, and you could figure they had her when they were in high school or just out of it, and that would probably put them somewhere in the second half of their 20's when they lost their kids. They totally seemed like they had to be young parents.

The girls looked even younger than that to me -- 6, tops.  So I figured Lee and Randi were about 30 when the events happened, and in their late 30s in the present day scenes.

On 3/15/2017 at 7:04 AM, ketchuplover said:

Why not bury that guy at sea?

Practicing Catholics don't do that.  Besides, Joe had a burial plot with his parents -- that's where he wanted to be laid to rest, and Lee wanted to respect Joe's wishes as much as he could.

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On 3/8/2017 at 6:48 AM, Duke2801 said:

But no, in reality, MANY people who endured what Lee endured never "get over it."  I mean, yes, they get out of bed every day and go to work and pay their bills.  But they never really go back to living.  I loved that there wasn't a whole lot of dialogue about it either; but how his line "I can't get past it" really just encapsulated this sentiment.

I know you said this a long time ago, but what Lee says to his nephew is "I can't beat it."  Meaning not only that he can't get past it, but that no one else will either.  That's why he can't just live in his brother's house and take care of the kid until he graduates.  The only place he can get a job is far away from Manchester; without a job, they'd have to sell either the boat or the house to live on; they don't want to sell the boat and if they sell the house, they won't have anywhere to stay.  So it's a vicious circle and the only solution is the one they eventually settle on.

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Welp, that was soul-killing!

Just kidding -- it was a very well-done film.  But ... geez.   

The scene with Lee and Randi on the street was very effective ... especially when she sobs "you can't just die!" because she knows he's given up on really living while she's been able to find happiness again.  I liked that the movie was very clear that neither of them would ever "get over" what happened, but she was able to move forward and he just couldn't (though he did make progress in connecting with Patrick).  And Randi knew exactly why and felt terrible for contributing to making him feel so guilty.        

The dynamic with Patrick's mother was interesting, especially that super-awkward lunch.  Elise was another one who just couldn't seem to get herself back on track ... she'd stopped drinking but, I suspect, hadn't conquered whatever made her escape to alcohol in the first place.  

I loved the protective big brother in the flashbacks.  Especially when he forced Lee to buy decent furniture for his crappy one-room apartment.  

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  • 1 month later...
(edited)

I saw this last night, and while I thought it was good if not a tad overhyped.

For starters, I'm from the Boston area so seeing familiar scenery was nice. It's really hard to do a convincing Boston accent if you weren't born and bred there, so the actors get a pass from me. I will say, the dialogue and interactions between the characters absolutely 100% nailed working class New England.

I was kind of surprised Lee didn't put his baggage aside to be there for the nephew who'd lost a father and been rejected by his mother. On the one hand I get that he couldn't remain in the same town where his kids died and he became a pariah, but on the other it was kind of shitty to dump a teenager on strangers who already said they didn't want him. 

I thought there were some touching moments, particularly the street scene with Randi and Lee, and also Lee re-forming his bond with Patrick, but I thought the musical score was God awful and out of place during many points in the film. I'm also dubious as to how Lee skated on any charges considering he was drunk and coked up when he forgot to put the screen on the fireplace. Minor detail, but it bugged. 

Edited by BitterApple
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4 hours ago, BitterApple said:

I'm also dubious as to how Lee skated on any charges considering he was drunk and coked up when he forgot to put the screen on the fireplace. Minor detail, but it bugged. 

I saw it last night too (thanks, Amazon!)  I think Lee was surprised that he wouldn't be charged with something.  Would it have made him feel better?  He wanted punishment.  

I also couldn't understand his reluctance to relocate.  It wasn't as if he was more content in Quincy.  Classic case of "no matter where you go, there you are." 

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5 hours ago, BitterApple said:

For starters, I'm from the Boston area so seeing familiar scenery was nice. It's really hard to do a convincing Boston accent if you weren't born and bred there, so the actors get a pass from me. I will say, the dialogue and interactions between the characters absolutely 100% nailed working class New England.

Casey Affleck is from there.

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15 hours ago, AuntiePam said:

I saw it last night too (thanks, Amazon!)  I think Lee was surprised that he wouldn't be charged with something.  Would it have made him feel better?  He wanted punishment.  

I also couldn't understand his reluctance to relocate.  It wasn't as if he was more content in Quincy.  Classic case of "no matter where you go, there you are." 

I think he really felt he needed to atone and didn't want to move on. Ever. Which is terribly tragic, not only for his sake, but for his nephew's as well. I feel his brother thought that his death would at least bring back his brother from the dead, so to speak, but alas he was having none of it because he felt he deserved to have a shitty life for the rest of his life.   

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