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Manchester by the Sea

I put off watching Manchester by the Sea for some time, prior to it making our list. I have a wide range of thoughts on this film that I'm struggling to put into words, so excuse me if this is a bit rambly. I'll just write as the thoughts come to me. Maybe some slight spoilers as well

On the dramatic element: when I read other reviews it seems others are impacted by this film on a much deeper level than I was. This puts you through some of the most gut-wrenching possibilities of life, so a deeply emotional response makes sense. However, I feel like immediately I adapted the north-eastern tropes attitude of, Well f*ck that's life, the attitude of the characters. Perhaps that can be viewed as a directorial success. It really does throw you right into this Maine town and lifestyle. Where people seem to be mean, but are deeply kind. The opposite of the south. The piece is incredibly human & it's not hard to identify with any of the personalities. So much so, I think my reaction began matching what I saw on the screen.

Overall it's a very human glimpse into a simple, yet layered, life. Not overly ambitious, but genuinely rooted. There's a pretty wide range of interactions and complexities that are thrown at the audience. All in a very shrugged-off and stoic way. Even the most gut-wrenching scenes- the hospital & the police station- they never force too much. Relies on the audience to do most of the work, which I respect.

Obviously great performances all around guided by a masterful script. I definitely would rank this as one of the must-watches of the decade.