Manchester By The Sea Review: Moving On and Change


This summer I watched the film Manchester By the Sea. It follows a man, Lee Chandler, who must take care of his nephew, Patrick, after his brother dies. Chandler carries with him guilt from his actions of the past. This movie is an intimate portrayal of loss as it shows how life moves on no matter what.  We follow Chandler and his nephew as they grow accustomed to each other.

Chandler is a janitor for an apartment complex and in the opening sequence we see him deal with different tenants. This interaction gives us insight into his character  as he is laid back.  We also see how he may have a short fuse.

He then gets news that his brother is in the hospital and when he arrives his brother is dead. The scenes in the hospital were very awkward as the direction from Kenneth Lonergan makes one feel as if they were just onlookers in the hospital.

We get many flashbacks to Chandler’s past life with his wife and kids. This is a stark contrast to his current situation as he is now alone and a janitor. This adds intrigue to the film as it keeps the audience engaged, wondering what happened for him to end up alone.

Adding to the intrigue Lee Chandler has a reputation in the town where his brother died. People are constantly staring and making comments. The relationship between Chandler and his nephew is handled well as it is two strangers coming to terms with each other. This movie has themes of moving on and grief and presents them in an intimate and down to earth way. The ending is uncertain just as life can be at times. This movie paints a picture of what it means to be human.