[pix_dropcap]B[/pix_dropcap]lown up fantasy movies bore me. Action packed, testosterone driven destructive full features make me cringe. I find most comedies out there cruel, but small almost uneventful insights into the human painful experience fascinate me. I watched Manchester by the Sea at the Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham, a quaint, 90 year old theatre and arts centre surrounded by taller and shinier efforts.

The cinema is almost empty, the screen tiny by comparison to the modern multiplexes drowned in highly sugary drinks and suffocated by mountains of crunchy sugary popcorn but definitely more apt to the story unfolding for our prying eyes. I did feel like prying on the characters on screen, their uttermost personal drama laid bare for us. A story of immense, unspoken grief in a community living in sub polar conditions in Massachusetts. It is moving, heart-breaking, funny at times, but most importantly it feels totally real. Death sealed by snow, a teenage boy left fatherless and his grieving uncle appearing shell-shocked throughout the movie, left unable to cope with reality, unable to cope with life after a horrendous personal tragedy.

Most of the female characters in the film, appear to be failing their children, their partners, their friends and the men are left on their own to deal with the comedy of life, ill equipped for the task, unsteady as if finding their way out of a maze drenched in darkness. The new-Yorker Kenneth Lonergan has penned and directed the drama. Casey Affleck endures and nails the role originally written with Matt Damon in mind, as Damon had contributed to the original idea. The classically enchanting, evocative, soundtrack composed by Canadian composer Lesley Barber beautifully frames the pensive mood of the film and its many wordless poetic moments.

13 January 2017 – Manchester by the Sea, Dir. Kenneth Lonergan – Carolina Theatre, Durham, North Carolina


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