Manchester by the Sea: Am I Really Laughing Right Now?!

“Manchester by the Sea” is directed by Kenneth Lonergan and stars Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) as an uncle who has to take care of his teenage nephew after the death of his uncle.

I saw this movie on Sunday, January 8th, and I’m glad I did. My gladness is mainly due to how the Golden Globes were on that day and this was nominated in several categories. Before going into the film I heard that this movie was loved by critics, so I thought I was going to get one of the best movie experiences out of a movie which came out in 2016. For example, this movie has a 96/100 on Metacritic right now, a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and even regular moviegoers are raving too with an 8.5/10 on IMDb. Did I get what I saw coming out of this movie? Not really. Does that mean the movie sucked? I wouldn’t say that.

Let’s just jump into this right here and now, with Casey Affleck, and Affleck’s performance in this movie may be one of the best of 2016 if not the best! My grandparents actually happened to see this film before me and my grandfather didn’t really care much for it, I think he liked it, but I don’t really think he cared. However my grandmother happened to love the film as far as the acting goes. She told me that when it comes to the acting, it was like watching real people. After seeing the film, I totally see where my grandmother is coming from. The timing, the voice levels, the posture, everything happened to be superb from Affleck’s character. Great job! I’m not saying everyone else did a bad job with their performances, but Casey really stood out to me.


One other thing that really stood out to me about the movie was Lesley Barber’s score. There was so many periods in the movie where there happened to be no music whatsoever, but whenever there’s a scene with music playing, it matches the scene perfectly. One example that really stood out to me was one scene where Affleck character is visiting a therapist and he’s having flashbacks, like when he saw someone’s house on fire and he knew the people who live there.

However, these positives don’t mean the movie’s flawless. One of the biggest flaws of the movie in my personal opinion was the balance between comedy and tragedy. I heard that this movie was supposed to be rather sad, and it is, but the thing about that is that it is just not enough sadness. You want to know something? I actually found myself laughing harder than I cried. Granted I don’t really cry during movies, I am just moved with my brain and maybe I’ll hold my tears in. But nevertheless, when it comes to a movie like this, there probably should have been a little less laughable moments and a little more sadness. Not to get off topic, but one thing I absolutely hated when seeing this movie, was during one scene, Casey Affleck’s character was getting somewhat emotional considering he was looking at his uncle’s dead body, and what was so bad about it? At one moment I was thinking to myself that this was unfortunate, then someone’s phone goes off for the whole theater to hear! TURN YOUR PHONE OFF! Why am I mentioning this? Maybe this could somewhat affect my final verdict of the film, so I felt the need to get it out there.


Anyway, there are more issues I have, well, technically, this is a positive and negative at the same time and lets start with the positive. This movie is very well shot. There are some immersive highway scenes, and there were a couple of scenes showcasing an ocean, along with a boat that really made me feel like I was there. However, there’s one scene in the beginning of the movie that felt somewhat clunky, and that’s because it had a very unnecessary jumpcut. If you don’t know what a jumpcut is, it is essentially when a shot is showing something, and in the next shot, it is showing the exact same thing from the same angle but either closer or farther than before. I’ve seen shots like this work before, for example, on “Conan” they did a comedy bit called “Arbitrary Judgment Lineup” back in 2015, which is essentially a bit where ten contestants are eliminated one by one and it doesn’t really matter what they do, it’s mainly just out of chance, and there was a jumpcut that made the bit somewhat funnier.

HOST: “Ruth, you’re out.”

RUTH: “Why am I out?

HOST: “Well now it’s because you’re asking too many questions. GET OUT!”

The jumpcut in that bit occurs after the end of the first sentence in the last line provided, so it does work in my opinion, but it just doesn’t work for me in this movie.

Also, I will say that some of the characters are rather forgettable. Some of the only characters I remember at the top of my head right now are Casey Affleck, Casey Affleck’s nephew, Casey Affleck’s ex-wife and family, and Casey Affleck’s nephew’s girlfriends. Yes, he’s dating two people in this film. I will say however that Casey Affleck really nailed his performance in the film so me forgetting a lot of the characters is somewhat forgivable.


“Manchester by the Sea” is a good movie, but it is not a great movie. In my opinion this may be the most overhyped movie of 2016, I can see why some people might really love this movie, but I didn’t get everything I wanted out of the experience I had while watching this in the theater. I’m going to give “Manchester by the Sea” a 7/10. Also, congrats to Casey Affleck winning the Golden Globe for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama”, I wanted him to win and he definitely earned his victory. I also won’t go without mentioning a hearty congratulations to everyone who won an award at the Golden Globes, and also to everyone who got nominated. I know how hard it is to make a movie but you guys made it through all of your projects and that says a lot. Also, as far as upcoming reviews go, I’m probably going to see “La La Land” over the next weekend, which according to the Golden Globes either happens to be the best movie of all time, or a biased choice over and over again. Why do I say that? During the Golden Globes, “La La Land” won 7 out of 7 of its nominations, which means “La La Land” broke the record for the most Golden Globe wins. Is it that good? We’ll have to find out soon, but that is if I actually see the movie, I never know what could happen to my schedule. Anyway, stay tuned for more reviews. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!


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