By Luciana Leitão

If I could use one sentence to describe Manchester by the Sea, by Kenneth Lonergan, it would be: too much to handle. At least, that’s what I thought immediately after watching it. Now, that a little time has gone by, I can safely say this was one of the strongest films of the year. Deep, emotional and yet, even though the story had everything to be depressing in every way, comical, in a dark way. Believable, as good cinema should be.

The film starts with a very disturbed Casey Affleck. Emotionless, serious, bored to death. He seems almost in-existent, in his existence. Or maybe just trapped inside. Then, he is faced with his brother’s death and with the need to take care of his nephew. That’s when we slowly understand what this is all about.

Throughout the film, we keep getting hints on what the character’s anguish is all about. Mr Affleck does an amazing job playing this very hurt and resentful individual, who lives in constant agony.

Still, the film faces an unimaginably terrible event with a sense of humour — it is not self-evident, but we can see it in the dialogues, in the situations, even in the reactions of the main character.

Sadness is portrayed in a very real and raw way, and nothing can defeat it. Because the situation itself if overwhelming and unsolvable. Manchester by the Sea made me believe in the story. Cheers to Mr Affleck, who made me believe, feel and empathise.