Welcome to the House of Crouse. If you are one of those people who likes to see all the movies that will be nominated for Academy Awards then run out and see “Manchester by the Sea” right now. If you are one of those people who likes to learn all about the movies that will be nominated sit a spell and listen to Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams talk about making “Manchester.” Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Denise Donlon stops by to tell a funny and touching story about her friend Leonard Cohen. C’mon in and sit a spell. There’s always room for one more at the House of Crouse.
Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the new Brad Pitt wartime thriller “Allied,” the new kick-ass Disney princess in “Moana,” the Oscar hopeful “Manchester by the Sea” and the Warren Beatty rom com “Rules Don’t Apply.”
Richard sits in with Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the new Brad Pitt wartime thriller “Allied,” the new kick-ass Disney princess in “Moana,” the Oscar hopeful “Manchester by the Sea” and the Warren Beatty rom com “Rules Don’t Apply.”
As a man thrown into the depths of despair in Manchester by the Sea Casey Affleck had to mine some deep emotional territory. He describes the process of playing a person who confronts his tragic past to working out.
“This is a bad analogy,” he laughs, “but it is sort of like you go to the gym. You warm up into it before you do your heavy lifting. So you start at the beginning of the movie and you’re getting into it. You spend an hour sweating and working out then you slowly come out of it.”
Affleck is the core of the film. He’s in virtually every frame and while understated he bristles with feeling. It is a tremendous performance that never fails into morbidity as he skilfully keeps he character alive, both physically and metaphysically. Every day is a struggle for him and he deals with his trauma the only way he knows how, with blistering honesty and by drinking and fighting to feel something. There is emotional truth in every mumbled line and letting that go at the end of the day was difficult.
“That is the experience I think most actors would describe having,” he says. “I don’t think it’s unique or particularly committed or brave of me. It’s what you have to do. You have to go there, show up on set and be prepared to play the scene with the right feelings, the way it is supposed to be. I’m just not good enough to show up in a great mood, say good morning to everybody, check in with the kids and read the paper and then walk into the scene and be believably gutted in the way he is supposed to be. He carries around all this guilt, he’s devastated and filled with self loathing so I have to start way back in preproduction and try to slip into these bad feelings and stay there for as long as I can.
“If you just showed up and tried to walk through it or do anything but give 100 percent you’d really look like a jackass. I didn’t want to do that no matter what. It was a hard movie to make but that is what I like about making movies. If you are just showing up and chit chatting and having fun, that is not what is satisfying about making movies. It feels really good to be somebody else and live in some character’s life even if their life is tragic. Then you come out of it.”
Manchester by the Sea isn’t just an exercise in Sturm und Drang. It deals with very real, very difficult human situations but does so with honesty and a great deal of unexpected humour and wisdom so not everyday on set was filled with angst.
“Some of the what you think would be harder scenes to do,” Affleck says, “we just started and finished. Did them really quickly.
“I would say the longest scene was when I come home to find her in the bedroom. It was one of the lightest, most pleasant scenes to do. Take my clothes off and straddle Michelle [Williams]. ‘One more please! Can we try something different here?’ That scene took a long time.”
“Manchester by the Sea” is one of the year’s best films. If you want to know why, read on. If not, go buy a ticket now. You won’t be disappointed.
Casey Affleck, in what is sure to be an Oscar nominated performance, is Lee Chandler, a Boston janitor with the hollow-eyed look of a man whose life has been touched by tragedy. As a maintenance man in an apartment block he spends the day with odd jobs, unplugging toilets and doing illegal electrical work. At night he picks bar fights. When his brother older Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies suddenly of a heart attack, Lee must return home to Manchester, Massachusetts and settle the estate. Haunted by ghosts of his past, Lee’s hometown brings back difficult memories. His pregnant ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams) appears to have stated her life anew and the tragedy that scarred him reverberates through the place and its people. When he finds out Joe named him guardian of Patrick (Lucas Hedges), a headstrong teen with a way with a joke and the local girls, the life he has tried so desperately to numb becomes complicated further.
“Manchester by the Sea” is many things. As a finely acted look at grief and the aftermath of heartbreak, it has few peers among this year’s crop of films. But it’s also very a funny odd couple/buddy flick that isn’t afraid to flip flop between drama and comedy. This is writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s tempest in a teapot, a smallish film that roils with big emotional moments.
Affleck is the core of the film. He’s in virtually every frame and while understated he bristles with feeling. It is a tremendous performance that never fails into morbidity as he skilfully keeps he character alive, both physically and metaphysically. Every day is a struggle for Lee and he deals with his trauma the only way he knows how, with blistering honesty and by drinking and fighting to feel something. There is emotional truth in every mumbled line and come Oscar season expect to hear a lot about this performance.
Affleck shares several scenes with Michelle Williams, but one in particular stands out. For most of the film we only see her in flashbacks, when she was married to Lee. Cut to present day and a chance encounter on the street. In a master class of acting the two rehash and come to grips with the trauma that tore them apart. It heartbreak laid bare and it is a stunning scene.
Also strong and crucial to the film’s dynamic is Lucas Hedges as Joe’s son, Lee’s nephew. He’s a chip off the Chandler block, raw, rough and honest to a fault (except when it comes to the girls he dates). It’s a remarkably mature performance that never loses sight that Patrick is an inexperienced minor with much to learn.
I fear I’ve made “Manchester by the Sea” by the sea sound like an exercise in Sturm und Drang but it’s not. It deals with very real, very difficult human situations but does so with honesty and a great deal of unexpected humour and wisdom.