Manchester by the Sea, the film directed by Kenneth Lonergan, is getting ready for the glittering Oscar-night. The movie received in fact six nominees for the Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. More than a year ago it was presented at the Sundance Festival, and at the Festa del Cinema di Roma.
Kenneth Lonergan is a Hollywood veteran: he is known as a director, and as a popular writer of screenplays such as Analyze This and Gangs of New York. In 2000 his first movie as director, Count on me, received two nominees at the Oscars (including Best Screenplay, written by the same Lonergan), and Best Actress.
And precisely because his films tell relationships between people in an intense way, and need a strong actors’ work, it’s no surprise that even Manchester by the sea got the nominees for the best interpretation are going to Casey Affleck in the lead role, Michelle Williams, nominated in the best supporting role and the young promising Lucas Hedges, in the role of teenage grandson with whom Affleck’s character will have to do.
Casey Affleck is not only the brother of the more famous Ben: as an actor he appeared in the Ocean’s eleven saga, in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and I’m Still Here as himself: the last one, the documentary about Joaquin Phoenix’s life, was also written and directed by the same Affleck.
A profound study in loss and family ties, Manchester by the Sea tells the return of Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) in his home town following the sudden death of his brother. And there, waiting for his return, there are the orphan nephew but also his ex-wife, and the painful past from which he fled. A film of dilated time, with strong emotions, a slice of real life where images and gestures prevail on the dialogues.
A little piece of trivia: in Lonergan originally wrote the film with the intention of directing it. In fact it had proposed to Matt Damon that would cure both the staging as well as play the role of the protagonist. Following the filming of The martian, Damon’s agenda was complicated and had to give the film confining the role of producer.