Manchester By The Sea

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This is not a happy film by any stretch of the imagination although there are some funny moments. Most of the fun comes from how quiet the main character is, Lee Chandle played by Casey Affleck. You can see from the start that he is a very damaged man and a very angry man. He once lived in Manchester by the sea, but is now a janitor in Boston. There are frequent flashbacks to happy times back home, building up to why Lee is now a shell of a man.Then his brother dies and he has been left as trustee to his brothers estate and guardian of his teenage nephew.

He doesn’t cope very well with looking after the young lad and tries to palm him off on whoever he can. The problem is not the boy, but the place in the title, a place that brings back terrible memories for Lee. Slowly as he deals with his brothers death and his new role as guardian we see the past involving his wife and children who are no longer part of his life. 

We see the young lad coping with his fathers death even though it was inevitable, it is of course hard. We see how he has grown up and how he has become a sportsman, ladies man, belongs to a band and enjoys being out on the sea. We see him put on a brave face and see him crack up. It is hard to talk it through as his uncle is completely numb to life. 

There are some laugh out loud lines to the film surprisingly. This is mainly between Lee and his nephew Pat. The light hearted relief is definitely needed due to the rather depressing subject.

Casey Affleck is perfect as Lee. It is not an easy part to play, a part where sometimes just a movement of the eyes is needed. I liked the way that everything continued on as normal to a degree after Joe’s passing. Life does carry on after death and people carry on their every day lives. There isn’t always a  constant explosion of emotion after death. Lucas Hedgrs plays patrick very well and you see how he struggles with not belonging, seeing his dead father and waiting for his burial. I hope he can continue in his career in this positive note and pick up great roles.

This is a great film which speeds past despite how long it is. The performances from the main cast are brilliant having to tackle difficult subjects.

9/10

The Finest hours

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This is a real life disaster movie based on the true story of coastguard Bernie Webber. The film is set in 1952 during a severe storm out at sea. We follow Webber a man who has recently found love and is a stickler for rules and regulations. No matter how pointless the rule is he has to stick by it. An example of this iss when he has to ask the captain about getting married. Which is generally seen as a courtesy rather than a must. People laugh at his ways and they question his masculinity, but this is most certainly a brave man.

The storm brings about 40-60 feet waves. The sea terrifies me and excites me at the same time. The power is extraordinary especially when you think a wave can crush large buildings. The sea on that night tore two ships in half and killed a number of its crew. The main concentration is on one particular ship called The Pendleton. The Pendleton has been ripped in half leaving the back (apologies for the nontechnical term) afloat. There are 33 of the crew left who start to squabble over how to escape this disaster. A man who knows the boat inside out takes charge and comes up with a brilliant idea to buy them more time for rescuers to come.

Webber and his crew of 4 are sent out in a little lifeboat. It’s seen as a suicide mission against such big waves. Most refuse to do it and some suggest that Webber should pretend to get lost and come back. Webber and his crew are courageous men and go out determined to bring back the crew. This is a mission where rules go out the window.

The performances give great credit to those involved. Chris Pine is brilliant as Webber against his usual action hero role. Here he plays a shy man, often nervous who has a great deal of courage and bravery. I think this is his best performance to date. Casey Affleck plays Sybert who takes charge of the sinking vessel, he too does well showing that he can play socially awkward parts. Holliday Grainger plays Miriam, Webbers girlfriend who is strong and determined. She is not someone to mess with and clearly loves her soon to be husband dearly. This is a great part for her and she performs well as the strongest and most outspoken of all involved.

The film made me wince as the waves came crashing down. You feel the tension as time passes and hope diminishes. You put yourself in their shoes and think how you would react in such a situation. It is surely an event that would live with you for the rest of your life.

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8/10

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