Manchester By the Sea

There’s never been a more tender and sensitive look at life after death than this film. 

The first experience I had with death was my Great Grandmother’s funeral when I was about 10 years old. I had sat next to the casket and held her hand from start to end because I was concerned that she was too cold, I half expected her to sit up and bark at someone for a blanket. A few more funerals and a few more years passed and the concept of friends and loved ones just being gone has become clearer to me. What I hadn’t considered was what these personal losses meant for the living, that is until I sat down and watched this film.

The film is centered around a soft-spoken handyman named Lee Chandler who is called back to his childhood home in the wake of his brothers death. Lee has a lot of terrible history with Manchester so the return to his childhood home is agonizing, further compounding the loss of his brother and his newfound responsibility for his nephew. 

I hesitate to say much more than that because this isn’t so much a plot as it is spending a few weeks in the life of a really sad guy. Now I know that a banal exploration of the grieving process doesn’t get most of your engines purring but the authentic performances, the unexpectedly hilarious situations, and the delicate moments between Lee and his nephew assured me of this films abundant wisdom. It’s a tough watch but there’s never been a more tender and sensitive look at life after death than this film. 

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