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  1. I went to see "Manchester by the Sea" with a group of friends, not knowing anything about it. I didn't even know what film we would be seeing as I stepped up to the booth to order my ticket. I was just along for the ride with a group of women who usually choose good films. I am sure there will be Oscar buzz about this film, as it is the type of movie the Academy adores. It deals with very serious issues, and the actors, for nearly all of the film, are allowed to display their chops, portraying unfortunate souls filled with anguish and angst. Grief, and the inability to move on after death, are the major themes in this film. Casey Affleck (Ben's younger brother) gives a wonderful performance as a man who cannot move on. Affleck's character, Lee Chandler, is the most depressed person I have ever seen on film. His gloom wears on you as you watch the movie. I saw this film on a day when I was feeling blue. I do not recommend anyone else do the same. There are touches of humor in the film, particularly in scenes where Chandler is interacting with his 16-year-old nephew. Patrick, brilliantly portrayed by Lucas Hedges. The dialogue between these two is touching and real and occassionaly laugh-out-loud funny. But these light moments are few and far between, and are overwhelmed by the tragedy in the film. Affleck and Michelle Williams, who plays Lee Chandler's ex-wife, Randi, give moving performances as a couple badly damaged by the tragic twists and turns of life. But I fully expect the major buzz this award season to be focused on Hedges. This talented young man is a gifted actor who gave an award-worthy performance, scene after scene, in this film. If you love to watch good actors act, you probably will enjoy this film. I can't say that I recommend it, however. It was depressing and dragged in spots. The score is over the top. There is one particular scene, intended to tug on your heartstrings, where the soaring violins are so obnoxious, the music took my mind completely away from the story. Instead of being moved to tears, I was annoyed by the music and the producers' overwrought attempt to manipulate my emotions with it.
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