2016 #22 – Manchester by the Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan)

“I said a lot of terrible things to you. My heart was broken, but I know yours was broken too.” – Michelle Williams as Randi in Manchester by the Sea.

Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges
Written By: Kenneth Lonergan
Running Time: 137 minutes (2 hours, 17 minutes)
Genre(s): Drama

Balancing humor with tragedy can be really tricky. Luckly, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea is able to bring together the two tones in such a masterful, organic way.

Fans of Kenneth Lonergan have had to wait a long time for this. After his Oscar-nominated 2000 film, You Can Count on Me, his follow-up (Margaret) was riddled with post-production lawsuits and drama and it wasn’t released until 2011 with barely any attention paid to it. I still remember thinking it would be a miracle to get another Lonergan feature length film. Then again, I am a pretty impatient person.

And while I haven’t seen Margaret yet, I can say that a film like Manchester by the Sea was more than worth the wait for a new film from him.

The film follows Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a man who must return to Manchester-by-the-Sea to look after his nephew (Lucas Hedges) after his father (Kyle Chandler) dies. The return to his hometown forces Lee to face his past and to confront his future.

Needless to say, the film is gut-wrenching. With a beautiful screenplay at its core that tackles grief in such a profound way, Manchester by the Sea puts you right into the middle of the Chandler family. We see the love they have for each other while also experiencing the pain that they must endure. This film is the perfect example of allowing the audience to get invested in its characters. And the way Lonergan integrates flashbacks into what is currently taking place in the film is great too.

Casey Affleck is superb. He never overplays the part of Lee Chandler, and the despair he puts himself through is evident from the very beginning. He really captures the internalization of Lee’s emotions. And Lucas Hedges does such a great job here as well. His scene with the freezer is remarkable. Michelle Williams also does a good job with very minimal screen-time.

Overall, Manchester by the Sea is a very powerful film that has stayed in my mind ever since watching it. 4.5/5.

2016 Personal Ballot (updates are in bold)

Best Picture
The Handmaiden
La La Land
4. Manchester by the Sea

Hell or High Water

Best Director
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Park Chan-wook – The Handmaiden
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
4. Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
2. Denzel Washington – Fences
3. Joel Edgerton – Loving
4. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
5. Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Krisha Fairchild – Krisha
2. Emma Stone – La La Land
3. Sally Field – Hello, My Name Is Doris
4. Kim Min-hee – The Handmaiden
5. Kim Tae-ri – The Handmaiden

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Ashton Sanders – Moonlight
André Holland – Moonlight
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
4. Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea

5. Ben Foster – Hell or High Water

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Viola Davis – Fences
2. Lupita Nyong’o – Queen of Katwe
3. Janelle Monaé – Hidden Figures
4. Lucy Boynton – Sing Street
5. Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay
1. Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan
2. Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
3. Sing Street – Simon Carmody, John Carney
4. La La Land – Damien Chazelle
5. Hello, My Name Is Doris – Michael Showalter, Laura Terruso

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Handmaiden – Park Chan-wook, Chung Seo-kyung
3. Fences – August Wilson
4. Loving – Jeff Nichols
5. Krisha – Trey Edward Shults

Best Film Ensemble
1. Moonlight – Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monaé, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali
Hell or High Water – Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Katy Mixon, Margaret Bowman
3. Fences – Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Saniyya Sidney
4. Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monaé, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge
5. The Handmaiden – Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong, Kim Hae-sook, Moon So-ri

Best Original Score
1. La La Land – Justin Hurwitz
Moonlight – Nicholas Britell
3. The Handmaiden – Cho Young-wuk
4. Loving – David Wingo
5. The Jungle Book – John Debney

Best Original Song
La La Land – “Audition” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Sing Street – “Drive It Like You Stole It” by Gary Clark
3. La La Land – “City of Stars” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
4. Sing Street – “To Find You” by Gary Clark
La La Land – “Another Day of Sun” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Best Production Design
1. The Handmaiden – Ryu Seong-hie
2. Passengers – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena
3. La La Land – David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Stuart Craig, James Hambidge, Anna Pinnock
5. Hidden Figures – Missy Parker, Wynn Thomas

Best Cinematography
1. La La Land – Linus Sandgren
2. Moonlight – James Laxton
3. The Handmaiden – Chung Chung-hoon
4. Hell or High Water – Giles Nuttgens

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Deadpool – Bill Corso
2. Suicide Squad – Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, Christopher Nelson
3. Sing Street – Barbara Conway, Sandra Kelly
4. The Handmaiden – Song Jong-hee

Best Costume Design
1. The Handmaiden – Jo Sang-gyeong
2. Sing Street – Tiziana Corvisieri
3. Queen of Katwe – Mobolaji Dawodu
4. La La Land – Mary Zophres
5. Hidden Figures – Renée Ehrlich Kalfus

Best Film Editing
1. Moonlight – Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
2. La La Land – Tom Cross
3. The Handmaiden – Kim Jae-bum, Kim Sang-bum
4. Hell or High Water – Jake Roberts
5. The Jungle Book – Mark Livolsi

Best Visual Effects
1. The Jungle Book – Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Adam Valdez
Passengers – Pete Dionne, Sebastien Gourdal, Erik Nordby
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
4. Deadpool – Alex Burdett, Jonathan Rothbart, Ryan Tudhope, Alex Wang
5. Hell or High Water – Jeremy Cox, Scott Hastings, Daniel Holt, Michael Prawitz

2016 Ranked (updates are in bold)

1. Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
The Handmaiden (dir. Park Chan-wook)
La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle)
4. Manchester by the Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan)

Hell or High Water (dir. David Mackenzie)
Sing Street (dir. John Carney)
Loving (dir. Jeff Nichols)
8. The Jungle Book (dir. Jon Favreau)
9. Fences (dir. Denzel Washington)
10. Krisha (dir. Trey Edward Shults)
11. Queen of Katwe (dir. Mira Nair)
12. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi)
13. Deadpool (dir. Tim Miller)
14. Finding Dory (dir. Andrew Stanton)
15. Hello, My Name Is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter)
16. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (dir. David Yates)
17. Christine (dir. Antonio Campos)
18. Captain Fantastic (dir. Matt Ross)
19. Passengers (dir. Morten Tyldum)
20. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon)
21. The Girl on the Train (dir. Tate Taylor)
22. Suicide Squad (dir. David Ayer)


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