Between the lines: Delicate tragedy of Manchester by the Sea
Interview: Kenneth Lonergan on Manchester by the Sea
Kenneth Lonergan makes a triumphant return to movies with a story about a solitary man who must go back home to face his family and the events that changed his life
By Jay Stone
TORONTO — There’s a scene in the penetrating and devastating drama Manchester by the Sea where Casey Affleck, playing a loner with a crippling secret in his past, stands in front of a burning building. It’s defining tragedy in the film: the Affleck character, named Lee, has just been to the grocery store to buy some 2 a.m. snacks and beer, and he has returned to find his life going up in flames. It’s the kind of moment that would call — in a lesser film — for a lot of outsized emotions. But Manchester by the Sea is too quiet and controlled for that: it’s written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, a master of understated sadness, and has in Affleck a leading man whose own work (he’s the younger, less famous brother of Ben) reflects a though...