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Manchester by the Sea (2016)Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, this film premiered at the 2016 Sundance festival, and was screened at numerous other festivals, including Telluride, Toronto, New York and London.  It went on to win numerous nominations and awards, including five Golden Globes.  The plot is quite simple. When Lee Chandler's brother Joe died of a sudden heart attack, he's shocked to learn from the attorney that he has been entrusted with his teenage nephew Patrick.  Lee has lived a hard life.  He's a janitor in Quincy, Massachusetts.  The funeral is delayed by winter weather, and Lee must sort out his brother's estate, so he reluctantly moves back to his hometown of Manchester by the Sea.  He moves in with Patrick, who has been estranged from his mother Elise because of her substance abuse problems.  Life with Patrick raises the ghosts of his own family traumas and all the reasons why Lee left Manchester by the Sea — a house fire that killed his own three children, his suicide attempt, and subsequent divorce from his wife Randi.  The pain is aggravated when Randi asks to attend Joe's funeral, and shows up pregnant with her new husband.  Other factors intensify Patrick's resentment toward the emotionally distant Lee, who is a far different man when we meet him than the former happy-go-lucky family man that Patrick had remembered.  As you might expect, there's little closure in a story of grief like this one.

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