Lee Chandler, a handyman in Boston, receives word of his brother's passing in Manchester, MA. He makes arrangements to be there for a week while he settles his brother's affairs and arranges the funeral. It is there that Lee finds out, through the lawyer, that his brother left him in custody of his son Patrick.
Lee is a complicated man in his own right. He drinks frequently; he starts bar fights. Deep down, though, he is fighting demons. Demons that threaten to overcome him as he goes back to the coastal town of Manchester.
Manchester by the Sea is a poignant movie about grief, and how to keep on living after a devastating loss. Some people are good at moving on, as is Lee's ex-wife Rudi (Michelle Williams), and others, like Lee, just don't know how to keep on living.
Through flashbacks the audience is given the full story, the one that is referred only in whispers by the townsfolk, and what a crippling tragedy it is! The musical score is excellent. I was particularly overcome by the fire scene punctuated by Albinoni's adagio.
The editing is a little choppy, some scenes appear cut without a smooth transition, but the real power of this movie lies in the story, the narrative choice, which is spot on, and its powerhouse performances, particularly Casey Affleck's.