Manchester by the Sea

 

A man (Casey Affleck) crushed by tragedy returns to his hometown on the coast of Massachusetts to become the guardian of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) in a gently paced and emotionally wrenching drama from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan ("You Can Count on Me"). Flawless performances, a revelatory flashback structure, and a picturesque natural backdrop buoy the carefully manicured yet naturalistic portrait of a shattered individual who cannot forgive himself for one grave mistake. Eventually, the dramatic urgency of the story wanes and the protagonist's struggle to recover leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste; the movie's profanity and frank treatment of teenage sexuality are hurdles from the get-go.

 

Watch out for: Much rough language, some explicit banter, several fairly graphic adolescent sexual encounters, a suicide attempt, fistfights, and a partial glimpse of lower female nudity.

 

Rated: L, limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; MPAA: R

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017