After gaining a ton of awards for his debut film You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan’s latest movie Manchester by the Sea looks set to follow up on that success.
Ever had an experience in a place that left you so traumatized that you had to move away and know that you could not return as it was too painful? To make it worse you feel like you played a major part in the terrible experience, something that you could never turn the clock back on as much as you would dearly like to. An awareness that the tectonic plates had shifted and life and you would never probably be the same.
Well, in Manchester by the Sea that’s exactly what Lee Chandler played by Casey Affleck has to deal with. The film, and Affleck’s performance in particular, is a mesmerising study of a past trauma affecting you’re here and now.
I have to admit that I watched the movie with a kind of blasé seen-this-type-of-movie a million times before attitude. A kid’s parents die and someone is forced to look after them, cue tension, struggle and a neat resolution, the end.
But as I left the movie theatre and made my way home on the tube I only had one thing on my mind… how would I cope if I had to deal with what happened to Casey Affleck’s character. It was the type of art that you don’t realise you are really being moved or affected by but ends up flickering in and out of your mind at random times and with little warning for sometimes days after, that’s pretty powerful stuff.
Many who watch the movie would have experienced that holy grail in movie making when there is a collective ‘makes you think’ moment and have real empathy for Lee and his situation. How would I cope was a question that many watching the film would no doubt ask themselves.
In 1972, Otto Muehl, an Austrian artist, founded the Friedrichshof Commune. It was a far-left commune outside Vienna that pledged to offer an alternative to the “nuclear family”. The commune existed until 1991, during which time many children were born into it. After its dissolution, Muehl was convicted of sexual abuse of minors and sentenced to seven years in prison.
What makes a classic a classic? Does it have to be groundbreaking? Or simply a good film? Does it need to be likeable or just hard-hitting? Whatever the definition, Goodfellas, Scorsese’s 1990 biographical crime thriller, has already secured its place among the classics, regularly featuring in the top ten of critics’ “greatest films of all time”. It was nominated for six Oscars, with Joe Pesci winning that of Best Actor in a Supporting Role.