Saturday, December 24, 2016


Here's a tip you can take to the bank: If you want to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, do not, I repeat, do not see this movie until well past the holidays, like February. In fact, if you ever want to feel merry or happy again anytime, don't see Manchester by the Sea ever. Alas, I did not have the benefit of such advice, having read professional reviews written by paid critics for respectable publications describing it as "the best movie of 2016" and "a must-see" and other stuff like that, so now I'm miserable.

Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck are sad, sad, so sad.

The plot is relentlessly depressing and I can't go through it again, so instead I'll do my shortcut version and briefly touch on some of the highlights:

1. Casey Affleck is amazing in the lead role as a severely depressed individual who is cut off from all hope. In flashbacks we see that he was happy once, and he's good then too. But wow, he is very convincing as a sick, sad lost puppy with no redeeming qualities, even though my husband said it was due to his way of stooping his shoulders and not because of any great acting ability.

2. Everyone else in the movie also turns in a great performance, so if you're into the acting, you might want to go just for that. (A two-minute cameo by Matthew Broderick is the only exception; he was truly bad.)

3. The locale of the movie is very picturesque, with lots of lovely water scenes and beautiful New England harbors and pretty houses in the background. One particular shot of a line of blackbirds flying across a light blue sky was nice, but it just lasted a few seconds.

4. There is no visible point to this film, although one result of seeing it is understanding that life really, really sucks for some people and maybe yours isn't so bad. So Merry Christmas after all!

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