Saturday, January 28, 2017
Mourning becomes him
Grief seems to be big at the cineplex this season. First I saw Jackie, in which Nicole Portman blisters the screen with barely-suppressed rage as the iconic First Lady deals with her husband's bloody murder. Today I saw Manchester by the Sea, which gives us Casey Affleck trying to "beat it." "It" being paralyzing grief.
Manchester by the Sea is a more conventional movie than Jackie. But that doesn't make it any less effecting. Lee Chandler has a small, solitary life as a janitor in Boston. He's close to his big brother (Kyle Chandler, who should work more!) and nephew out in Manchester, but for the most part he bounces from work to bar to studio apartment. Then his beloved brother dies and ... I shall say no more lest I give too much away. But Casey Affleck deserves all the accolades he's received this awards season. Ben's younger brother doesn't have movie star charisma, but he has heartbreaking Everyman sincerity.
People can go through so much, survive so much, and each of us does it on our way. We may go on, but we're forever changed.