Casey Affleck in a sinking ship in ‘Manchester by the Sea’

Jack Petro
Jack Petro

Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is a loser.  He works as a janitor in an apartment complex in Quincy, Mass. where he toils scraping ice off sidewalks. He lost his three children in a fire caused by his neglect.  He is divorced.

But his recently departed brother, Joe, did not see him that way.  In his will, he named Lee guardian for his teen-aged son Patrick (Lucas Hedges) with sufficient funds to provide for him to maturity.  Lee finally finds purpose, but is at odds with Patrick’s rock band and his freelance sexual exploits. 

"Manchester by the Sea" is showing at the Rialto Theater.
“Manchester by the Sea” is showing at the Rialto Theater.

The plot becomes soggy.

Affleck’s performance is flat—might have been directed so—which dulls the edges of all his scenes. M-b-t-Sea is a lack luster melodrama which barely gets a C rating.

Currently the show is appearing at The Rialto in The Villages.

Jack Petro reviews movies for



  1. I do not know where Jack comes from and I know nothing about his life experiences.
    But I do know that I grew up with people in a tough town full of Lee Chandler types.

    Also I dealt with people like him every day in my work. Believe me Jack the affect you call flat actually is superb acting by Casey Affleck. Also this is the third movie I have seen with him in the lead role where he displays a depth that one can practically feel while watching the film.
    I disagree with the characterization of him as a loser but rather regard him as a man who has been beaten down by terrible events he feels responsible for that have left him in the depths of despair. If you did not perceive this maybe you just don’t get this film.

  2. I see movies that sound good to me, I totally ignore the awards and movie critics. Everyone has their own taste. Actually when a critic says a movie is great it ususally turns out to be artsy-fartsy, or more drama than I can stand. I have drama in real life, I go to movies to escape and be entertained.

    • It’s called “acting” and he did a great job…no car chases. no shoot outs, just great basic acting making you think and care about the character. He won for a reason and beat out some pretty strong competition.

    • Tony, I’m surprised that you question best actor, but haven’t even seen the movie?

      As they joked at the awards (you know, Hollywood liberals of course) “The only thing more depressing than 2016’s Manchester By the Sea was…..2016.”

      Do not see this movie if you want typical Hollywood escapism, happy endings on thrill-seeking action films. It’s not “artsy-fartsy” – it’s a slice of a man’s life who faced horrible tragedy, and rather than the typical Hollywood plot of rising above adversity, never overcomes it.

      Suburbs of Boston- Somerville, Watertown, Southie and other pockets are extremely depressed ad depressing, without being high-crime or “ghettos,” and yes, snow and gray skies make it worse it winter.

      So we were engrossed by the plot, the actors and the scenery- but like the rest of the audience actually laughed at the abrupt ending. Real life continues, it does not stop suddenly in a climax.

      My three cents.

      • I have not seen the movie, sir, but I wonder what Jack saw in it that did not merit his approval. That’s why I wonder.

        I did plan to see it, but the theater was full. I will, though.

        There. Add my three cents to your three cents.