★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki
"I can't beat it. I can't beat it. I'm sorry." That's an emotionally devastating quote from Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea, the greatest film of the year so far. Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a janitor & handyman in the Boston suburb of Quincy. He is emotionally distant, & likes to get into bar fights. One day, he gets a call saying that his brother, Joe (played by Kyle Chandler), has suffered a heart attack. Lee makes it to the hospital... an hour after Joe passed away. Lee returns to his North Shore hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea to take care of his 16-year-old nephew, Patrick (played by Lucas Hedges), but is shocked to discover that Joe has named him Patrick's guardian. While in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Lee runs into his ex-wife, Randi (played by Michelle Williams), & must re-encounter a horrible tragedy that forced him to move out of the town & changed his life forever.
The cast is nothing short of spectacular, with Affleck, Williams, & Hedges all looking like locks for Oscar nominations. Kenneth Lonergan's direction & screenplay is perfectly understated & feels so undeniably real. The cinematography by Jody Lee Lipes is astounding. The editing by Jennifer Lame is amazing. And the film score by Lesley Barber is absolutely beautiful. This is one of the 10 best films I've ever seen, & it's a cinematic experience you will never forget.