Ralph Potts reviews this powerful, and critically acclaimed drama, about a man struggling to contend with the ghosts of his past, who must returns to his New England hometown to take care of his teenage nephew.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Lionsgate - 2016
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
English SDH, Spanish
Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, Gretchen Mol
written & Directed by:
February 21, 2017
"Some Wounds Run Too Deep"
After a solitary Boston janitor (Affleck) unexpectedly becomes the sole guardian of his 16-year-old nephew, he must come to terms with a past that separated him from his wife (Michelle Williams) and his hometown, as uncle and nephew unite for an unforgettable journey of love, community, sacrifice, and hope.
Written/Directed by Kenneth Lonergan Manchester by the Sea
is a character driven drama that speaks to the human condition on an emotive level. Featuring a terrific screenplay, the film starts out with unshaped characters, and slowly shapes them, connecting them to the narrative in a meaningful way, which frames the story, allowing the audience to derive the most from it.
At well over two hours Manchester by the Sea
is indeed, a slow boil, requiring patience, especially early on, as none of the characters are seemingly likeable, or clearly drawn. Lee, played masterfully by Casey Affleck, is stoic, standoffish, and troubled, yet you don’t understand his motivations. As the storyline unfolds, via a series a of wonderfully integrated flashbacks, Lee’s pain, and the reasons for it, become evident. Whereas you once found him difficult to care about, you slowly come to understand him, and by the end, even like him.
Aside from Lee, there is Patrick, his 16-year-old nephew, a good kid, dealing with his own problems, coming from a broken home, and now, having to contend with the painful loss of the only person in his life that he could really count on. Thrown together, Lee and Patrick struggle, trying to find middle ground, while coping with the complexities that fate has dealt them. Joe, Patrick’s father and Lee’s brother (played by my man Kyle Chandler), is the film’s wild card, in terms of character. Initially, you know zero about him, except that he has passed away, and Lee has been summoned to deal with what he has left behind. Over the course of the film, Joe becomes an integral part of the proceedings, seen through flashbacks, that make him, in my opinion, the story’s most endearing character. Lastly, there are several supporting subplots, involving Lee’s ex-wife, Patrick’s alcoholic mother, and Patrick’s circle of friends, all of which enrich the film’s dramatic subtext.
Manchester by the Sea
is a multifaced drama that tells a compelling, and evocative, story of shame, tragedy, and grief. It is both uplifting and depressing, requiring an emotional investment that leaves an indelible mark, even after the credits have rolled. I watched it with my wife and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.
The rating is for language throughout and some sexual content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
Manchester by the Sea comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene. The chroma range isn’t broad and hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are appropriately bland with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen were exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on, and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a pristine quality that is free of video related artifacts
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack readily handled the elements contained in the recording. The presentation retained a front-loaded perspective with well-defined, and clearly articulated dialog that extended well into the room. Sounds were reproduced with discerning clarity, and delineation that brought forth plenty of subtle nuance and low level detail. Surround activity was limited to rear channel spatial cues and occasional directional sounds. This presentation was a perfect match with the source material and sounded fine.
- A Conversation with Director/Writer Kenneth Lonergan (Audio Commentary)
- (HD) Emotional Lives: The Making of Manchester by the Sea – 16 minutes
- (HD) 3 Deleted Scenes
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
Written/Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
is a multifaced, and rewarding drama, that tells a very human story, surrounding a man’s struggle to contend with shame, tragedy, and grief. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits, mated with a fair supplemental package that includes insights from the cast/crew. Manchester by the Sea
isn’t a feel-good film, but it’s a genuinely honest portrayal of people struggling to cope. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend that you give a spin on Blu-ray.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package