Manchester By The Sea
“The uncomfortable industry adulation that surrounded Casey Affleck—despite his confirmed abuse against women in reality—outweighs my ability to recommend this film.”
Title: Manchester By The Sea (2016)
Director: Kenneth Lonergan 👨🏼🇺🇸
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan 👨🏼🇺🇸
Reviewed by Angie 👩🏻🇺🇸🌈
I tried to like this movie. However, the only person I felt anything for was a supporting character. The movie as a whole was disjointed in both characterization, and misplaced accents were distracting.
That being said, I kept pace with user ratings on Rotten Tomatoes (4/5) since the focus of this review lies in challenging its (lack of) diversity. The most glaring of which includes the uncomfortable optics of lead actor Casey Affleck being fawned over by reviewers and winning Best Actor awards, despite having settled two sexual harassment suits not so long ago. Offscreen behavior should be taken into account when considering the merits of a final product; after all, art should take into account its creators, as the two are inextricable.
Not including extras, there were only four roles for women in this film. Of those four, two scenes were about men. Manchester by the Sea didn’t even pass the very low bar of the Bechdel Test. We also took under consideration the fact of centering an actor who has confirmed his own predatory behavior on the set of I’m Still Here (2010).
However, a half point is given to Michelle Williams who delivers an amazing performance in portraying such an emotional journey.
GradeMyMovie.com Assessment: 7% of creative decision-makers were POC
There were only two people of color who had speaking roles in the entire film. That said, a closer look at the demographics of Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA reveals that 98% of the population was white in 2010*, making the film contextually accurate.
Mediaversity Grade: D 2.50/5
This is a story about white people with only white friends, surrounded by white neighbors. While this scenario may be accurate to the true Manchester-by-the-Sea in MA, these are still creative decisions being made by Lonergan that exclude women and POC.
While there are some good moments in the movie with small bits of humor, I found most of the scenes one-dimensional. In addition, the uncomfortable industry adulation that surrounded Casey Affleck—despite his confirmed abuse against women in reality—outweighs my ability to recommend this film.
* U.S. Census Bureau, https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_DP/DPDP1/0600000US2500937995