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Published December 14th, 2016
Film Clips
Kyle Chandler and Casey Affleck in "Manchester By the Sea." Photo credit: Claire Folger, Courtesy of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions

The Oscar Nominations will be announced on Jan. 24 and I guarantee you will be hearing "Manchester By the Sea" several times. It has already won best film honors of 2016 from the National Board of Review and nominated for eight Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards.
"Manchester By the Sea" is directed by two-time Oscar Nominee Kenneth Lonergan. Lonergan was first nominated for an Oscar in 2001 for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, for "You Can Count on Me" and again in 2003 for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, for "Gangs of New York." Lonergan knows how to write a compelling story and his direction will make you think of your own life and how precious that truly is.
Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is an apartment complex maintenance man for several buildings in the Boston area who enjoys the simple things, including small talk with the tenants. In the evenings, everything changes. Lee is a barfly who seems to relish getting into fights. Lonergan quickly shows that the past is destroying Lee from the inside out.
Lee's life takes a tragic turn when his brother dies of congestive heart failure and Lee must return to his hometown. If the death of a sibling is not enough to turn one's world upside down, Lee learns that he is the guardian to his 16-year-old nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Going back home with a troubled past complicates the situation for Lee, who must face his ex-wife, Randi, portrayed by three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams ("Brokeback Mountain," "Blue Valentine," "My Week with Marilyn").
Affleck has played this Boston-type character in previous films like "Good Will Hunting," but never at this level of performance. Affleck will be the front-runner for the Oscar with a close second by Denzel Washington for his role in "Fences," which will be in theaters on Christmas Day. Look for Oscar nods as well for Williams, Hedges and Lonergan.
"Manchester By the Sea" is a raw, real-life drama. It is my favorite film so far this year. Lonergan has the talent to balance all kinds of emotions and even finds humor in the darkest periods. It is a movie that will pull you in and demand your fullest attention. The subject matter is not easy, but then again life is not easy.
"Manchester By the Sea" is rated R for strong use of language and some sexual content. TRT (Total Running Time) is two hours and 17 minutes.

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