Manchester by the Sea is a really sad movie. It’s the story of a man who is broken and how he manages to get through each day of the rest of his life… And that doesn’t include being made the guardian of his 16-year-old nephew.

Story: The value of this story is how real it is. There’s no exaggeration… There’s no overly dramatized scenes… it all exists in reality. Even the most difficult scenes in this film are 100% believable. It feels as though the writer is drawing from some actual experiences and if that is the case, it had to be a really difficult exercise. If that’s the case, my hat is off to Mr. Lonergan for being so brave and honest.

Performances: Casey Affleck is quietly powerful as the central character, Lee Chandler. He did a good job of making us feel his character’s pain. Kyle Chandler plays his brother and Lucas Hedges plays his nephew. All very good performances – Casey Affleck with more screen time is a lock for award season nominations. Not out of the realm of possibilities for him to win at least one.

Other performances that were good – Michelle Williams as Ricki, Lee Chandlers wife/ex-wife and C. J. Wilson as his brother’s best friend and business partner. Both very good in their small doses. Michelle Williams in a supporting role could be a possibility.

Visual: This story looks like New England and the characters sound like New Englanders. Also being sea-faring people came across sound and clear. But, it was a bit more refreshing because it wasn’t the most extreme version. They represent the average New Englander, not the rough-around-the-edges street thugs of South Boston or the pirate like sea captains running fishing boats. This film shows that you don’t have to be at an extreme to be powerful.

Rating: A-. It’s hard not to bust a tear over this film. If it’s not one scene that gets you, its another – pick your own emotional trigger, but, it will get you. And it’s because, again, this is a real story. This could be a true story. This could really happen.

And, this would be a nice film to have a sequel, without it really being a sequel. You want to see what happens to Lee and his nephew, say 10 years later… Hopefully Kenneth Lonergan will read this and start writing. Interim, go see this movie – well worth the price of admission.