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Manchester by the Sea

A dour movie about dour people living dour lives in a dour New England town. The camera is static and so are our hero’s faces. Long periods of voyeuristic shots of everyday life are punctuated by rare expressions of minimal emotion. Answers to all our questions are quickly revealed and dramatic tension never builds up.

That kind of direction is fine if you are talking about a man’s mid-life crisis, but disturbing when your movie involves three children burning to death. Is seeing a couple of good acting performances worth subjecting yourself to emotional trauma that doesn’t result in a meaningful message (and anything on stoicism of the Irish can hardly count if the Simpsons have already done it)?

Medical things of note: congestive heart failure is a diagnosis as broad as lower back pain (i.e. not a real diagnosis at all); would anyone not work it up further, never mind that it is in an otherwise healthy 40-something; and do they not have ICDs in Manchester, MA? Coach should not have died, least of all because without his death we wouldn’t have had this movie.

Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, 2016

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