Yesterday we saw Manchester by the Sea, the new film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges, about a distraught man (Affleck) returning to his hometown after the death of his brother, where he discovers he’s been named guardian of his brother’s son (Hedges). Affleck’s character is withdrawn, sullen, and reluctant to commit, seemingly resistant to any kind of human connection, and as the film progresses we get his backstory and understand why. (So the theme of the film recalls that of Lonergan’s first, You Can Count on Me, about two siblings (Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo) trying to reconnect after a family tragedy.) Manchester is a calm, elegant, deeply felt film, not exactly fun family holiday fare, but ultimately moving and insightful into the way people can break, and perhaps can be brought to try to repair themselves.
There’s a nice review by Anthony Lane is the latest New Yorker.