Manchester by the Sea Review #OscarWatch2017

I am doing it! I am watching all the Oscar nominated movies for the main categories! If I follow my schedule of 6 movies a week for the next 3 weeks, I should be caught up come Oscar Sunday. Fingers crossed I actually follow through. Anyway my first review will be for the Amazon picture Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges and directed by Kenneth Lonergan. To quickly summarize, this movie is about a detached man (Casey Affleck) who ends up watching his brother’s kid (Lucas Hedges) after his brother’s death (Casey Affleck’s brother, not the kid’s). Michelle Williams plays the ex-wife of Casey Affleck’s character. This movie has quite a bit of firsts, one being that this is the first movie from a streaming service to be nominated for best picture. That’s pretty monumental because that means the Academy is starting to stop their prejudice against content from streaming services, a prejudice that some would say Beasts of No Nation fell victim to just one year ago. Along with that we also have Lucas Hedges being the youngest person to ever be nominated for best actor in a supporting role, him being 20. For a young dude who before this I had never seen, his future is looking bright even if he doesn’t win.

Now for my thoughts. I thought this movie was really good. By the way this is a non-spoiler review for those of you not joining me in my #OscarWatch. This movie was definitely a drama, but it was pretty funny. I laughed more than I cried,which I didn’t do which surprised me. I heard this movie was a bit of a tearjerker. But I’m kind of dead emotionally, so that probably explains that. There was a levity along with the darkness, which I really did enjoy. As for Lonergan’s direction of this movie, it was kinda weird but in a good way. It felt very real. It didn’t feel like a movie, it just felt like people interacting with each other. I don’t think a movie has to be like this to be good, but it definitely worked for MBTS. I get why Lonergan is up for best director, but I don’t think he’s gonna win it. With Damien Chazelle and Denis Villeneuve fighting against him, I don’t think the movie has what it takes. Now to go into the performances of the actors, starting with Casey Affleck. While Affleck stayed pretty deadpan for the majority of the film, you couldn’t help liking his character. And when he did get emotional, that was something to see. That was the stuff that made you really realize why he was up for best actor. I have now seen two of the men nominated for best actor in their roles (the second being Ryan Gosling for La La Land), and I just don’t know who I liked better. they’re just such different roles. Ryan Gosling is in a friggin’ musical and Casey Affleck is watching his dead brother’s kid. I’ll need to take a moment to figure out which I think deserves the Oscar. Maybe I’ll just wait ’till I’ve seen all the nominees’ movies and then make a final decision. Now, we move on to Lucas Hedges. This kid was grand. He was just a normal kid who is pretending that everything is okay, even though it isn’t. You see him struggle with the death of his father and when that big scene comes when you really see him break down (that’s not a spoiler, is it?), it’s marvellous. He definitely deserves the best actor in a supporting role nomination. And last, but certainly not least, Michelle Williams. Michelle Williams doesn’t have as large a part in this movie as Hedges, and yet she does. I can’t tell you why her and her relationship to Casey Affleck’s character is so pivotal, but it definitely is. I did like her in this, but I’m not sure if I liked her enough to consider her for best actress in a supporting role. I mean she was good but … I don’t know man. I haven’t seen the other nominees for her category yet but I fear I’ll like a few of them better.

Now for my best picture thoughts. I have now seen three of the nine movies nominated for best picture, and they’re all so very different. A drama, a musical, and a sci-fi movie. Talk about diverse. So what is my favorite to win so far? Gosh, I really did enjoy this movie, but I think this just can’t beat out La La Land and Arrival for me. Those movies were just something else. Manchester by the Sea was really good but it wasn’t spectacular. It didn’t break my heart or make me think or immerse me in a world. And those aren’t requirements for best picture in my mind, but a movie needs something to pull you in. I just wasn’t as pulled in as I wanted to be.

So, what’d you think of Manchester by the Sea? Do you think Michelle Williams deserves the gold come Oscar Sunday? Tell my your thoughts on the movie and its chances for best picture in the comments, and don’t forget to like, share, and follow Sprom for more of #OscarWatch2017 and other things in the world of movies.


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