Manchester by the Sea is the kind of movie that critics are pretty much required to like. It offers an actors’ clinic, with a brace of talented performers inhabiting the heavily accented paths of a north-of-Boston Irish Catholic clan. It has a mournful soundtrack, a colloquial, closely observed script, and a story whose central tragedy is designed to strip you raw. The writer-director, Kenneth Lonergan, and the star, Casey Affleck, are both major talents who haven’t had their biggest breakthroughs yet; if they want it, Manchester by the Sea has the feel of a career turning point for both.
I also rather hated it.