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Manchester by the Sea

Director:  Kenneth Lonergan
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  3.0

Cranky, pugilistic repairman Lee (Casey Affleck) returns to his hometown following the passing of his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), who, as it turns out, granted Lee guardianship of his only son Patrick (Lucas Hedges), a genuine jerk. Follows the recent trend of movies about damaged adults 'going home' to find redemption ... except Lonergan's having none of that Lazy Feel-Good Psychology Nonsense: Lee has chances to reconnect with his ex-wife (Michelle Williams) and ex-sister-in-law Elise (Gretchen Mol) and 'fix himself,' but as scenes from his controversial past reveal, the pain is too deep. Lonergan tends to get a little too theatrical with some of his setups and dialogue (blame his background), but he nails most of this: I didn't expect to get choked up when Lee tells Patrick, "I can't beat it, I'm sorry" but it's a marvelous scene and shows sometimes there is no quick redemption for broken lives. You really can't go home again, and nights of drunken stupidity can destroy your future ... although, eventually, the ground will thaw: be patient.

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