Although I think that this is indeed a fine film, I can't quite go along with all the 'oohs' and aahs' that have been conferred on it. For one thing, at two-and-a-quarter hours long, I feel that it is too long for its subject matter - though, having laid that claim down, I can say that I was never bored by it - only a trifle exhausted.
Casey Affleck is an itinerant plumber with a personality like a coiled spring, ready to go off at little, even imagined, provocation. (He's not alone in this respect!) His work entails doing thankless tasks for sometimes thankless clients. Close to his brother's young son (Ben O'Brien) with whom he goes on fishing trips, a few years later, his brother dies and Affleck finds to his surprise, and not without some irritation, that he's been nominated by his brother to be the guardian of the now 16-year old boy (Lucas Hughes). Their relationship has become spikey with both of them holding a simmering resentment of the situation - not helped at all by the boy having two girlfriends which he juggles simultaneously, each not being aware of the other, to Affleck's evident disapproval.
In a disappointingly (to me) rather meagre role is Michelle Williams as the Affleck character's former wife, who opens out her heart to him late in the film. There's a past between them which lurks over their continued regard for each other.
The film is serious throughout, though I've seen at least one review which describes the awkwardness between Affleck and his nephew as 'funny'! If so, I missed that aspect.
If it's a violent film, very little physical violence is actually seen - rather more like an undertow of potential emotional violence which may or may not erupt into the physical.
The photography of the small town Manchester, particularly in the deeply snowbound season, is impressive.
On the soundtrack there are one or two pieces I could have done without - including two long excerpts from Handel's 'Messiah' - as well as the over-used Albinoni/Giazotto 'Adagio for organ and strings'.
Director Kenneth Lonergan really is given his head in this film and he takes it to the utmost. Although Affleck is remarkable in the main role, I did now and again feel that the director was breathing down the necks of his cast. I think it might have been improved if he'd stood back a little more.
I don't doubt that it's an interesting film, perhaps on the severe side, but not one that will appear on my list as a 'must-see again' (unlike 'La La' which I'm ready to see once more at anytime). After maybe ten years, if I last that long, I might feel differently about 'Manchester'. As at now I rate it with a still considerable..............7.5.
3 hours ago