Headline January 22, 2017/ ''' *GRIEF* N GOWNS '''

'''' *GRIEF* N GOWNS ''' 

PERHAPS there's a carelessness in reducing work so diligently layered as Kenneth Lonergan's  *Manchester by the Sea* to a form as simplistic as a:

''A crying Casey Affleck tells people he's fine, for two hours'' but there's something brutally apt about the descriptor.

Manchester marks the great lament to the agonies of bottled emotion, touching its critical mass in a scene in which Affleck's Lee Chandler is confronted by his ex-wife  [Michelle Williams]-

Who begs him to talk to her, just to open the channel of communication.

He tells her that he's fine. That he doesn't want to talk about it. Repeatedly, over and over gain, even though the words become choked by his own very tears.

*Grief isn't always a flurry of passion, tears, broken vases, and most importantly Hollywood's beautiful flowing speech, spelling out of tongues that already have such deep intuitive understanding of every fluctuation of loss*.

But isn't grief also the burden of silence?

Slow and aching, sometimes it's the veil of fatigue and descends like a thick fog and makes it near impossible to see the world beyond one's self.

It's evident even in Manchester's opening scene: Lee is a handyman in a Boston apartment complex, he enters strangers' lives in the form and guise of a voyeur.   

With a nod, he traipses into their bathrooms and cranks things into place. He shares only physical space with them, nothing more.
It's a practice he has settled into comfortably into now.

Though Manchester opens on the death of Lee's brother [Kyle chandler], this isn't the first major loss he's suffered in his time.
Not the first wounding, but the re-opening of an old scar.

Lonergan carefully layers in Lee's flashbacks to his past trauma, flitting back and forth between past and present, as a reminder that those memories have made their presence permanently felt.

Key, too, is Affleck's searing portrayal of the role, for which he won a Golden Globe.

Manchester's outlook maybe pessimistic, but there's truth in the sense that we carry our grief like old scars, weighted burdens that marks us, that forever threatens to be violently torn open again. Yet, we still persist.

It's in Manchester quietest moments that its greatest impact can be felt, like when Lee opens up the refrigerator door and realises that there's no food left in the house.

The world can feel like its ending, but someone still needs to do the shopping.

The strange process, however, can  feel unfathomable to some , particularly those young enough to have been fully initiated  into the strange banality of adulthood.

Lee's nephew Patrick [Lucas Hedges] wants no part of it, certainly: to him, his path to functionality is through distraction, by almost extending the death of his father never happened.   

Instead he indulges himself fully in his circle friends and the careful trickery of maintaining relationships with two girls at once.

Death is final, so there shouldn't be anything further to experience after the initial loss.

Yet, Patrick slowly becomes overwhelmed by these creeping feelings of discomfort upon hearing that his father can't be buried until spring when the ground has thawed, meaning the body will be kept refrigerated in morgue until then.

Lee and Patrick now placed under Lee's guardianship, find their paths off grieving increasingly divergent; nor do they have the capability of expression to bridge that gulf between them.

As men, their silent mourning exists in the culture which actively seeks to suppress their emotions. This only further cuts the ties of communication between them.

If there is a society-accepted language to be spoken  man-to-man, it's that of violence.

The fact that rage has become more acceptable vocabulary for wounded men is perhaps one of the great tragedies at the core of Manchester's suppressed emotions.

Lee and Patrick repeatedly snap at each other from across their great divide like frothing hounds, arguing over who's going to take care of the latter's recently inherited boat.

All, while that silent  Language of Grief  hangs above them, unspoken underneath the forces of easier emotions.

If only they could just speak those simple words:
''Yes, I miss him, too.''    

With respectful dedication to all the master movie creators, producers and directors. And all the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW! -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Dreams & Reality '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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