The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare before Christmas

What’s this? What’s this?!?!

For one reason or another, The Nightmare Before Christmas was a movie that was never a part of my childhood, despite being six when it came out. Had I seen it as a child, I am sure it would have been a clear piece of my childhood I would always cherish. Now, almost twenty-five years later, I am glad to say that it still stands out as a classic (though as a Halloween or Christmas film, I am not so sure).

The story could only come from Tim Burton. The main resident of Halloween town, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is the best when it comes to Halloween. Still, he is looking for something more. He stumbles upon doorways to other towns (all based off of Holidays) and discovers Christmas town, which is beyond anything he has ever seen (“There’s children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads.”)

He has his idea set in stone: Bring the idea of Christmas back to Halloween town and spread the joy. This is despite the warnings of Sally (Catherine O’ Hara), a zombie like creature with a soft spot for Jack.

The main star of the movie is composer Danny Elfman (who does some of his own vocal work, including Jack’s singing voice). He has, and always will be, associated with the work of Tim Burton (who, I realized with shock, did not actually direct this movie. The director was Henry Selick). His music, voice, and lyrics are all displayed with dignity, bravado, power, and undeniable charm.

The movie had one Oscar nomination, which was for Special Effects (it lost to Jurassic Park). The visuals are, as in every movie that has Tim Burton related to it (in any way shape or form), simply astounding. Not only that, but the way the visuals blend with the music is so magical it is (fittingly) creepy.

Parents, this movie does, of course, have some scary moments for very young kids, but I think it would be fine for anyone 1st grade and up.

The impact of The Nightmare before Christmas is still being felt (stores still sell its merchandise). It is one of the main movies I wish did not slip through my grasp as a child. Even the message of who you are and your identity is brilliant. The only fault I have is that, like all great movies, it is far too short.

In a nutshell, The Nightmare before Christmas is a classic.

 

Overall: Four and a Half Stars ****1/2

IT (2017)

IT

Let the floating begin…

After the month of August has given an overall let down for theater goers, how refreshing is it that the movie to bring the experience of big screen ecstasy is not only a horror movie, but a remake? Well, you cannot deny IT.

Based off the book from Stephen King, IT is one film to satisfy not only fans of the horror genre, but those who think they don’t like horror films as well. It relies not just on the villain (whom Bill Skarsgard plays beautifully) but the idea of him as well. The film starts off with the death of a young boy months before the summer of 1989. We meet his older stuttering brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) and some of his friends, including Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), a hypochondriac, Richie (Finn Wolfhard), who spews one liners like a pro, and Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), preparing for his bar mitzvah. There are other new kids as well that are adding to the “Losers”: Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), a social outcast with a good heart, Mike (Chosen Jacobs), who is homeschooled, and Beverly (Sophia Lillis), with her own troubles at home.

I had flash backs of another great Stephen King adaptation, Stand by Me (1986), while watching IT. If you cannot appreciate the horror aspect of this film, then you will certainly love the coming of age aspect. Ah, the middle school days, when guys acted tough, swearing all the time, and noticing the female body. All of that (and more) is played to perfection thanks in part to the perfect young cast (all of whom are mainly unknown to me, except for Wolfhard, who plays Mike in Netflix’s Stranger Things).

Like all wonderful horror movies, IT has a collage of breathtaking beauty. Consider a scene towards the end, when one character is waking up on the ground, and it almost looks like they are in a glass bottle. There is also a bathroom sequence that, while I will not spoil it, is destined to be one of the most talked about horror scenes of all time. Blood never looked so gorgeous, and I cannot credit director Andy Muschietti enough.

Perhaps what Muschietti does best is trust the intelligence of the audience. He keeps the perfect pace so that we (or at least those like me who never saw the original with Tim Curry) are figuring everything out as the characters are.

Parents, it is clear the movie is rated R for violence/gore and lots (and I mean lots) of children swearing (there is one scene where the kids, including Beverly, do go swimming in a quarry, wearing nothing but underwear.  Still, I noticed a few young people (no younger than 9 or 10) in the audience I was at. I guess it is up to you, but, if it were my kid, I would say middle school and up.

 

Admittedly, I must say the movie did start off a bit slow for me after the opening scene, but I gradually eased in to what is surely one of 2017’s best films. Two things went through my mind as I left the theater. The first was that I need to reevaluate my list of the top ten movies based on Stephen King novels (IT is not the best, but is surely up there). The second is that, if they start working on a sequel, I would personally not mind waiting another twenty-seven years.

I am sure Pennywise would agree.

 

Overall: Four and a Half Stars **** 1/2

 

 

 

The Queen (2006)

The Queen

Helen Mirren is The Queen. Simple as that.

As we near the upcoming 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana (and having just viewed the very well made Netflix’s Original Series The Crown), I decided to revisit 2006’s The Queen. While viewing it, I tried to do something I had not done while viewing the movie before: trying to judge every part of the movie without focusing entirely on the performance by Helen Mirren.

It was no easy task. Helen Mirren gives a powerhouse performance as Queen Elizabeth II, so much so that in the few moments she is not on-screen, her presence is still felt. When I first saw the film, I knew virtually nothing about the history of the Queen herself, only the event that was Princess Diana’s death (I was 10 when it happened).

The movie starts of with her majesty meeting her new Prime Minister, Tony Blair (Michael Sheen, who is stellar). It is clear that Blair is bringing in a new, youthful era to the country. When told that he wishes to be called by his first name instead of his title, the Queen asks, “Has anyone given him a protocol sheet?”

Fast forward to the tragic day at the end of August of 1997, when the Princess and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, died in a car accident in a Paris tunnel. receiving the news, both the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip (an under appreciated James Cromwell) are stunned to find out that the Prime Minister is hoping for the royal family to make a statement. This is supported by Prince Charles (Alex Jennings), who in turn has to look out for his sons. It is a week that brings back many memories to people, as it is clear that the People’s Princess had touched all corners of the world.

The film has many scenes of quiet beauty: Simple walks in the palace, strolls with the Queen Mother (Sylvia Syms), talks on the phone, and (most of all) a very brief encounter with a stag. All scenes are played out with exquisite taste and care by director Stephen Frears.

Parents, the movie is a moderately gentle PG-13. There is no sex/nudity, just some swearing (one brief F-Bomb). There is also a little bit of gore revolved around hunting, show with a decapitated head of an animal. I would say middle school and up.

In the end, the movie belongs to Helen Mirren. When I first saw the movie, I knew little about the source material, yet I was still able to realize how dominate she was in the title role. It is one of the best performances an actor has given. You don’t see her acting at all during the movie. All you see is a woman who, despite her power, is still human. She still feels, still reacts, still makes hard decisions, and still manages to accept them.

Like the real life Queen Elizabeth II, this film is a surplus of dignity, power, and grace.

 

Overall: Four and a Half Stars ****1/2

Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk

Soldiers await their fate on Dunkirk

I can’t think of many directors with a solid stretch of quality films other than Christopher Nolan (some even to the point of masterpiece). His latest, Dunkirk, is surely one of his best. Forewarning: if you suffer from aquaphobia, I would advice being careful, because Dunkirk has some of the most intense scenes at sea I have seen this side of Jaws.

Set to a rousing score by immaculate composer Hans Zimmer, the movie starts right at the beginning of the end of the battle that happened in Dunkirk, France in 1940. The first thing we notice about the film is that (like in any battle), we do not know when a gun shot will ring out. There is hardly any warning to any firearm of any kind throughout the whole movie. Nearly every one that did occur made me flinch.

As any Nolan movie, the film does not rely on star power so much as acting. Most of the soldiers are new, upcoming actors, but we see some familiar faces as well. We get some veteran thespians such as Oscar winner Mark Rylance as a civilian helping with the rescue, Cillian Murphy as a soldier, Kenneth Branagh as a commander, and one actor as a fighter pilot who I will not reveal because it is quiet a nice surprise.

My only flaw in the movie was that the interceding timelines were a little off-putting. Foolishly, I forgot to remember that, as is the case of many Nolan films, one ounce of lack of attention could lead to confusion.

Parents, this is one of the few war movies that I can think of being rated PG-13. Nolan goes more for artistic than he does complete realism (at least when compared to other movies like Saving Private Ryan). The action is still intense, but there is no real amounts of blood and gore. It is mainly for the intense action sequences and some swearing (I think I remember two F-Bombs). Middle school and above should be fine.

Clearly, Dunkirk is one of the best movies of 2017, and will surely be up for many an Oscar nomination in the spring (hopefully Nolan gets his long overdue nomination for Best Director). While it is not the best of all war movies (nothing in my mind tops Apocalypse Now!), Dunkirk is surely among some of the greats.

 

Overall: Four and a Half Stars **** 1/2

 

 

The Big Sick (2017)

The BIg SIck

Emily (Zoe Kazan) and Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) in The Big Sick

Wow, what a breath of fresh air is The Big Sick. It is truly unlike any romantic movie I have seen in some time, probably the best since 2009’s 500 Days of Summer. I sat there watching the movie, realizing I had no idea where it would lead me, because it does not follow the cliché plot points of other movies in the genre. True, part of it could be because it is based on the true story of how Kumail Nanjiani met his wife Emily V. Gordon, but since they both wrote the script (and what a script!), it is clear it was close to their hearts.
Kumail plays himself, a struggling wannabe stand up comedian in downtown Chicago. We get some great looks at what stand-ups are like moments before they go on stage (one being described as “Daniel-Day Lewis, except he sucks”. In the audience, he gets a heckle from a member, who is Emily (Zoe Kazan, granddaughter of Elia). To say that they have great chemistry is a gross understatement.
The problem is that Kumail’s family is from Pakistan, so it is custom for him to marry a girl of his race. Every night at dinner, his mother (Zenobia Shroff) has to answer the door, because she has “casually” invited a woman over for dinner who happened to be walking by (Kumail keeps a box full of the woman his mother has tried to set her up with). He is also reminded by his brother Naveed (Adeel Akhtar) that their mother and father (Anupam Kher) will kick Kumail out of the family if he decides to marry a girl from another race.
Not long after an argument between Kumail and Emily, Kumail gets a call that Emily is in the hospital with an unknown disease that forces Emily to be put into a medical induced coma. During that time, Kumail meets Emily’s parents Beth and Terry (the perfectly cast Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.) Beth is clearly a bit more high-strung than Terry (who keeps notes at every meeting and discussion they have with Emily’s doctors). I will let you find out how outrageous Terry’s advice on love is that he tells Kumail.
The relationships that Kumail makes with all the characters in the movie is one of the best things about the film. Still, the strong point is the relationship he has with Emily’s parents. There is one scene where, in the hospital cafeteria, Terry invites Kumail to sit with him and his wife. The conversation they have is one I will not mention a word of, except to say it still has me laughing days after I saw the movie. Some may find the dialogue in that scene to be a little too risky for humor, but that is not why we laugh at it. We laugh at it because of the awkwardness of the situation.
Parents, the R rating is clearly justified. There is no nudity or sex scenes (some making out and characters waking up in bed after sex), but the film is rated R mainly for swearing. A lot of swearing (some sexual). Mature High School and above only.
Something that is very clear about The Big Sick is the fact that it clearly has a lot of scenes that tug at the heart. It is not just the fact that we fear for certain characters, but that we have sensed they have grown as people over the course of the events of the movie. That alone is essential to any film genre.
Overall: Four and a Half Stars ****1/2

Sing Street (2016)

Sing Street

The band Sing Street, recording their first song…

 

Over a month after La La Land fever has subsided and the dust has settled, it has allowed me to see a gem of a movie called Sing Street, which would have easily made my top five films of 2016 if I only saw it in time. As of this writing, it is streaming on Netflix.

The film is written and directed by John Carney, who made both 2014’s highly overshadowed Begin Again (with Keira Knightly, Mark Ruffalo, and Adam Levine) and the 2007 masterpiece Once (probably the best musical of the 21st century). Mr. Carney is becoming a name I will now have to always be on the look out for so I can see his movies earlier.

Set in Dublin during the 1980s, Sing Street tells the story of a teenager named Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo). His parents (Aiden Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy) are at constant war with each other (his mom is having an affair with another man). His music is his only true escape.

Due to money issues, Conor is to switch schools to a new school, under the strict rule of Brother Baxter (Don Wycherley). Despite not being able to afford the required black shoes, Conor must go shoeless instead of wear the one pair of brown shoes he owns (and don’t get Brother Baxter started on guys who wear makeup). It also does not help that he meets the local bully, Barry (Ian Kelly). All this changes when he meets the one girl across the street from the school named Raphina (Lucy Boynton). Even though he is told by Darren (Ben Carolan) that she has no interest in any of the boys in the school, Conor goes and introduces himself. When he finds out she is trying to be a model, he immediately recruits her to be in his band. She agrees, and he must recruit members to be in a band.

What the movie is smart about is that the members of the band actually know about music and have talent, yet still have enough characteristics to tell the members apart. Darren becomes the manager. The first recruit is Eamon (Mark McKenna, who I think looks a whole lot like 1980s child star Corey Feldman), who can play almost any instrument given to him. Eventually, Eamon agrees to playing bass. Then there is Ngig (Percy Chamburuka) as the keyboardist because “he’ll be able to play something: he’s black”. The last two members are Larry (Conor Hamilton) and Garry (Karl Rice), not including Raphina, who becomes the model for the Band’s music videos.

There are two key relationships that Conor has in this film, both of which are undoubtably palpable. The first is with Raphina. If todays teenagers were to see this film (and I would hope they would), they may be envious of the chemistry that Conor and Raphina have. Conor is brave enough to be himself around Raphina, and she brings her motto of life to Conor (and the band) of being “Happy Sad” (she lives in a girls home, and is seeing an older man). She tells Conor (who she likes to call “Cosmo”) to be Happy Sad because that’s what love is.

The other relationship is between Conor and his older brother Brendan (a marvelous Jack Reynor). He is a college drop out, still living at home. He is one of the better big brother characters in recent years. He takes Conor as a pupil as far as music goes (much like the Jack Black character in The School of Rock). He is confident that Raphina’s boyfriend won’t be a problem because, “no girl can every truly love a man who listens to Phil Collins”.

As was the case in Begin Again and Once, the music of Sing Street is stellar, and had me buying the soundtrack the day after viewing. One thing that was not the case was the rating of the movie, which the MPAA actually got right this time. It is PG-13. There is no real sexual content (despite a superfluous awkward view seconds of a women about to use a vibrator), so the film is really rated for its language and some thematic material. Basically, I would say only teenagers and above.

Without giving too much away, all I will say of the ending is that it did end as I expected, but the way I wanted it to. Think how rare that is for a movie viewing experience. I know there may not be a chance of it happening, but I would be so psyched if a sequel would happen (or at least the actors kept the band going).

They need to always get this band back together.

 

Overall: Four and a Half Stars **** 1/2

Heat (1995)

Heat

Pacino and De Niro, having coffee

“There are no small parts, only small actors”.

This quote (from acting legend Konstantin Stanislavski, a name known to every actor alive) was always one of my favorites on the area of acting, and it is shown all over Michael Mann’s 1995 classic Heat.

Before we get to the two big names of the movie, consider the supporting characters who do just as equal work. Val Kilmer. Ashley Judd. Jon Voight (I even forgot he was in this film). Mykelti Williamson (Bubba from Forrest Gump). Tom Sizemore. Wes Studi. (A young) Natalie Portman. Ted (“Buffalo Bill”) Levine. Dennis Haysbert. Danny Trejo (!). William Fichtner (if you google him, you will know who he is). All of these actors have varying screen times in Heat, and are memorable in their own rights.

Perhaps it was the genius of the direction (and writing) of Michael Mann. Perhaps it was because they all did their own research into the parts (which must have helped, because, according to IMDB, in 2002, the US Marines were shown the scene of the big gun fight to show how to actually retreat in real life) . Or (my guess), because they were all in the presence of the big guns Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

Anyone who loves movies such as I knows that actors don’t come much better than Pacino or De Niro. True, the two of them have not had much great success in the new millennium (Pacino was in Jack and Jill and De Niro in Dirty Grandpa, after all), but I am a loyal movie goer. I know these two have talent that other actors envy. Al Pacino is the only actor I know that you can still hear when the volume is muted. Robert De Niro (when not doing comedy), has a stare that pierces the soul.

In Heat, they play rivals on the crime and moral spectrum. Pacino is Vincent Hanna, a veteran cop who stumbles upon De Niro’s Neil McCauley, a veteran robber. McCauley and some of his henchmen (Kilmer, Sizemore, and Trejo) are near the end of their robbing days, but after one slip up, Hanna is on their trail (with help from characters played by Williamson and Studi).

Almost at the exact midpoint of the movie (give or take a few minutes), Hanna finally meets McCauley. After being pulled over, Hanna does not kill McCauley or even arrest him. He offers him to buy him a cup of coffee.

This, of course, leads to one of the most memorable scenes of the last few decades in film. At this point in time, Pacino and De Niro had never been seen on-screen (though they starred in The Godfather, Part Two, none of their scenes were together). Here we see two actors exchange in dialogue no more than ten minutes. We see each actor at the top of their game, and it is like watching a pay per view boxing match. I always find myself unsure who to root for. It is not a match up of Cop vs Robber, but Pacino vs De Niro.

 

Parents, the movie is rated R mainly for swearing and violence. There is one scene at the beginning where Hanna is with is wife Justine (Diane Venora) kissing in bed. It lasts about one minute, but there is no nudity. The violence and swearing are harsh, but nothing a High Schooler would not be able to handle.

 

The only thing that keeps Heat from a five-star rating is its pacing seems a bit fast to me. I did not have much time to catch up, and felt a bit confused by the story. Nevertheless, a few more viewings would probably push it to a five star. The movie is worth seeing alone just for the acting. In the dinner scene, there is an instant moment where we see both Pacino and De Niro giving each other a look of respect. I feel that is not the characters doing that, but the actors for each other.

 

Overall: Four and a Half Stars **** 1/2

Silence (2016)

silence

Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) trying to spread hope, as well as gain it.

Movies can be divided into two categories: ones you can watch over and over again, and the others that are best watched at least once. If I had to pick which categories to put Martin Scorsese’s newest classic, Silence, into, my first gut reaction would be the latter. It is brutal, gritty, and hard to watch much of the time. Yet it is also a movie that has so many moments that are open to interpretation that you would need to see it more than once.

The story seems simple, yet when it is a Marty Scorsese movie, it is always so much more than that. During the 1630s (and when was the last time you saw a movie made during that time?), two missionaries named Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield, who had a great 2016 after working with Mel Gibson on Hacksaw Ridge) and Garrpe (Adam Driver) venture out to Japan to find their mentor Ferreira (Liam Neeson). There are obviously great set pieces and beautiful imagery, but the situation that these two are in take any hope out of it. The authorities are cracking down hard on anyone proclaiming themselves to be christian. Even a hint of it in your life would mean your death, unless you were willing to step (“trample”) on the image of Christ.

The title of the movie holds many meanings. For one, it is about how Rodrigues and Garrpe seem to think how Silence is the only thing they have responding to their prayers. On the other  hand, it could also mean that the movie itself has (as far as I could tell) little musical score, if any at all. All we hear are wails of Christians dying, the waves of the sea, the drops of rain (and sometimes blood), panting from exhaustion, and so on.

The acting is extremely effective. It would be hard for you to watch this movie, and think that it is about Kylo Ren (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and “the Amazing” Spider-Man going to save Qui-Gon Jinn/Oskar Schindler/Bryan Mills (Taken)/any of the other roles we associate with Liam Neeson. Instead, you are thinking of how these two young priests are starting to realize, little by little, that they are going in way over their head.

Parents, it should come as no surprise that this movie is definitely not for kids. There is no sexuality (some rear end nudity of the Japanese), or really any swearing. It is mainly due to the violence, which is generally revolved around the torture that the citizens have to endure. High School and above only.

I admit the movie does tend to go on a little bit, but it still does not change my view that Silence is another movie to mention in Scorsese’s immaculate resume (I admit I have not seen all of his movies, but who can argue against titles like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or Goodfellas?) Silence also proves its title with the effect on the audience. No talking, no cellphones ringing, just the still audience absorbing the screen (there was a time when I had to move my hand to make sure it was getting circulation.)

It may have come out just at the end of 2016, but Silence is still clearly one of the year’s very best films.

 

Overall: Four and a half Stars **** 1/2

Fences (2016)

fences

Troy (Denzel Washington) gives one of his sons a good talking to…

There will be no “Oscars So White” at the Oscars this February.

After two years of no recognition for anyone in the black community who make movies, it was as if Denzel Washington just said “Ok, I will put a stop to that” and decided to direct Fences.

The movie is based on the play by the late August Wilson (who had worked on the screenplay before his death in 2005). After he won a Tony Award for his role, Washington brings his Troy Maxson to the big screen. Troy is a garbage man who works during the 1950s alongside his best friend Jim Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson). Married to his wife Rose (Viola Davis, who also starred with Washington on stage), he has two sons, Lyons (Russel Hornsby) and Cory (Jovan Adepo). Lyons is a struggling musician, who does seem to come by to ask his old man for ten dollars on every one of his dad’s pay days. Cory is finishing High School, hoping to play on a football scholarship, which Troy is against. There is also Troy’s brother Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson), who suffered a brain injury during the war.

All the acting is stellar. Once again Denzel Washington gives us more reason to believe why he is one of the most talented actors to grace the silver screen. This performance ranks up with some of the best work that he has ever done. As I was watching him, I realized you could take any thirty seconds out of his performance, and it would be able to be used for him when announcing him as a Best Actor nominee (which it is pretty much impossible for him not to be).

There are secrets that are exposed, things that are brought out into the light, and all of this is handled so well we forget who the actors are. We don’t sense “Oh look, Viola Davis is acting right now.” We sense that Rose is expressing herself and showing us pain that we hope no one else has to go through (though sadly some do). This may finally be the chance Davis gets at winning an Oscar, and it will be well deserved.

Parents, I am glad to say the movie is PG-13, and for the right reasons. There is swearing, but it is mainly for the thematic material in the film (there is no sexuality, but some suggestive talk). I would say mature middle schoolers and up.

One thing about Washington’s performance is that it is so great we forget he directed the film as well. There is certainly a sense that the movie feels almost like a play, but a movie at the same time. While the movie is not perfect (it drags a little at times, mainly at the end), it is certaintly one of the best movies of 2016.

Overall: Four and a Half Stars ****1/2

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

manchester-by-the-sea

From Left to Right, Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges are quite the acting combo in “Manchester by the Sea”

It was a very strange feeling to me.

After seeing Manchester by the Sea, I left the theater and did not know what to think. Did I like it? Was it one of the best movies of the year? I could not say. As I was leaving the parking lot, I felt like I was catching some sort of virus. The movie had begun its process of growing on me, and has ever since. To the previous two questions, I say yes without a single thought of hesitation.

The movie centers on Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a plumber/repairman in Boston. He is told that his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has died of a heart disease that he was diagnosed with years earlier. He is to break the news to Joe’s son Patrick (Lucas Hedges), and discovers that Joe left Lee as his guardian.

The rest of the plot is not for me to reveal, only for you to discover. We learn Lee has had a past he regrets in the town of Manchester, and we get flashback scenes including those with Lee’s ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams, wonderful as always) and Patrick’s drug addict of a mom (Gretchen Mol).

Still, it is the performances by Affleck and Hedges that carry this movie to the next level. Each deserve Oscar consideration. Affleck (younger brother of Ben) is considered to be the front-runner for Best Actor this year, and it is clear why. His performance is not filled with grand speeches or over the top moments (well a few). It is a contained performance, one that we identify with, or at least try to. He seems like a person we would meet on the street but forget if we only were talking to him for five minutes or so.

Lucas Hedges gives one of the better breakthrough performances in recent memory as Patrick. I have seen teens like this in my life who act and feel and talk and express emotions this way. It is a transcendent performance.

Parents, the R rating is justified. There is a lot of swearing that any middle schooler or High Schooler would hear, but the content of the film is too much for anyone not older than seventeen (maybe a mature 15 or 16-year-old, maybe). There is also sexual content, as Patrick is trying to have sex with one of his girlfriends (he has two that don’t know about the other), and we see a teenage girl in lingerie.

Is Manchester by the Sea an easy film to sit through? Heavens, no. Yet at the same time, you can’t take your eyes off of it. Written and Directed by Kenneth Lonergan (who should get Oscar consideration for both writing and directing), the film does seem to go a little long, but it will stay with you for as long as it wants to. I doubt it is leaving my mind and soul any time soon, and I hope it doesn’t.

 

Overall: Four and a Half Stars **** 1/2