Manchester by the Sea
The long and tortured birth of Kenneth Lonergan’s 2011 masterwork Margaret would have been enough to destroy the directorial ambitions of weaker men, so the fact that Manchester by the Sea exists at all is a minor miracle. And while it’s not quite the same scorched-earth triumph, Manchester by the Sea possesses a lot of the same novel-like textures and soul-gutting performances that made Margaret so powerful and compelling. Casey Affleck stars as Lee Chandler, an unhappy handyman still licking the wounds of an unspoken past tragedy when he receives the news that his brother has died. That leaves Lee to care for his hot-headed teenage nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), a task for which he appears woefully ill-equipped. Affleck gives the sort of crumpled, seething, fully lived-in performance that De Niro and Pacino gave in their primes, and he gets strong support from Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler and Gretchen Mol. D.B.