Manchester by the SeaManchester by the Sea
Year: 2016
Rating: R
Length: 137 minutes / 2.28 hours

Part of the trouble with the reputation of a film preceding it is the film rarely lives up to the hype. At least, that has been my experience. If I go into a movie with my own idea of what it will be and the movie delivers, I feel it is a good movie. However, if my idea of the movie is skewed based on what I’ve heard about it, then I might be disappointed if it doesn’t match what I was expecting. This is why I’ll likely watch a trailer for a film, but I won’t read any reviews of it until I’ve already seen it.

For Amazon’s successful foray into filmmaking, part of me expected a lot out of Manchester by the Sea (2016). After all, they don’t necessarily have to ascribe to the same processes and procedures that hold down other production companies. Add to this my impression that the story of Manchester by the Sea was quite depressing and my mental preparation to watch a sad film. Unfortunately, because the first expectation led to an underwhelming result, the second expectation didn’t have the impact I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of elements adding together to try and make the film quite sad. From the plot to the music, the theme of loss is strong throughout. However, the characters soldier on.

I’m not sure if it was the often confusing flashbacks or the slow plot progression (they should have just called it “Casey Affleck drives around in a jeep . . . a lot”), but there was only one truly impactful scene in the film. If the filmmakers were trying to make a movie about an emotionally numb man who successfully deals with the death of his brother, then they have succeeded.

Not as sad or as good as I was expecting, I give Manchester by the Sea 3.0 stars out of 5.

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