A drama with a capital D. Manchester by the Sea is the kind of film that is sure to do well with arthouse and academy fans, as it neatly ticks off all the boxes a typical prize film needs. It's no doubt a fine recommend if that's your thing, but it's also more than little by the numbers and not really the kind of film I'm generally after.
Performances are good, but most of the characters are rather one-note. They're all struggling really hard with serious drama from their pasts, but none of it is very gripping and when the drama keeps piling up it becomes pretty numbing. In the end, the harder Lonergan tried to make me care, the less I actually did.
Visually it's very drab, with dull colors, a sullen setting and functional camera work. The soundtrack isn't very interesting either, the runtime is excessive and the pacing is pretty slow, which is okay if the drama works, but it really didn't for me. It's not a terrible film, but there's nothing here that made me glad I watched it.