Manchester By The Sea review

The Oscar films are coming thick and fast into Kiwi cinemas, with both Hidden Figures and Manchester By The Sea opening this weekend.

Casey Affleck has already won the Golden Globe for his performance in the latter and is an Oscar frontrunner.

Best Film Best Actor and Best Actress nominations, Manchester by the Sea comes with a tonne of Oscars hype, and this little film packs an almighty punch.

Affleck is Lee Chandler, a Boston janitor called back to his home town after his brother dies.

Called upon to step up and take care of his teenage nephew Paddy, it's abundantly clear off the bat that Lee's returning to a crippling past - memories he can only just live with, as long as he's far from them.

Michelle Williams casts her magical fragile light on this film, barely in it yet earning an Oscar nod for her trouble, as Lee's former wife.

It's worth the ticket price alone for the one devastating exchange between them, the full extent of his pain crushing us all.

This film is no easy watch but life is hard, and sometimes, for some people, there's just no escape from that.

There is no question Kenneth Lonergan has crafted one of the most unflinching and memorable portraits of grief I can ever recall experiencing in the cinema.

It's stunning, and Casey Affleck will just break your heart into splinters.

But you really must be prepared for that and clear some space to sit in the sun - metaphorically, or otherwise straight afterwards.

Four-and-a-half stars.

       Manchester By The Sea

:: Director: Kenneth Lonergan

:: Starring:  Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams

:: Running Time: 136 mins

:: Rating: R13

:: Release Date: In cinemas now


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