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Manchester by the Sea

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A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.

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Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
  • A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.
  • Lee Chandler is a brooding, irritable loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. One damp winter day he gets a call summoning him to his hometown, north of the city. His brother’s heart has given out suddenly, and he’s been named guardian to his 16-year-old nephew. As if losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren’t enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy.
  • Lee Chandler, who works as a janitor for a property management company responsible for four residential apartment buildings in Quincy, Massachusetts, is an angry, sullen and antisocial man. His demeanor and retreat from life are primarily because of a single incident which led to him leaving his hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea upstate – his name being infamous in the region by those that don’t know him because of that incident – and the break-up of his marriage to his now ex-wife, Randi. The only time Lee ever returns to Manchester is when he receives a telephone call from his fisherman brother, Joe Chandler, who was diagnosed a few years ago with congestive heart failure. Whenever now divorced Joe ends up on an extended stay in the hospital due to his health problems, Lee returns to Manchester to take care of Joe’s son, Patrick Chandler, of whom Joe has sole custody. With the latest such telephone call and Lee’s subsequent trip to Manchester, Joe dies before Lee makes it to the hospital in nearby Beverly. In what Lee assumes is his temporary guardianship of now sixteen-year-old Patrick becomes legally permanent when he learns, much to his surprise, that Joe has Lee listed in his will not only as Patrick’s permanent guardian, but that Lee is to be the trustee for the estate on Patrick’s behalf until Patrick becomes of age, Patrick who is the sole beneficiary. Patrick, a typical teenager, is arguably closest to Lee emotionally than any other adult. Despite his father’s death, Patrick is still more concerned about maintaining his life as is: hanging out with his friends, including his two girlfriends (who don’t know about each other) and his band-mates, playing ice hockey, and keeping Joe’s slowly-deteriorating fishing boat (which Patrick sees as his father’s legacy), which is financially unfeasible to do. To Patrick, all this means Lee moving back to Manchester as opposed to Patrick moving to Quincy, where Lee only has a one room apartment as part of his job anyway. Lee is not only not equipped to be Patrick’s guardian, but is not emotionally prepared to return to Manchester, the site of the “incident” and where Randi still lives, she to whom he has not spoken since their divorce. With no other real options as to a guardian for Patrick – including their close friend George who is anticipating being an empty nester soon, and Patrick’s alcoholic mother Elise, whose whereabouts are unknown anyway – Lee has to decide what is best to do for Patrick, which takes into account his own emotional well-being.
  • Lee Chandler, a sullen and frustrated handyman, lives a life of limited human interaction and emotion. When Lee receives news that his older brother Joe has passed away after suffering a heart attack, he is shocked to discover that he is named as Patrick’s (his nephew) guardian. As Lee and Patrick struggle to adjust to a now-changed lifestyle, Lee must simultaneously confront his tormented past that separated him from both his wife, Randi, and the community in which he was raised.
  • In Quincy, the quiet and ruthless janitor and handyman Lee Chandler is summoned by George (a family friend) to come home to Manchester By The Sea when Lee’s older brother Joe is again in hospital after another heart attack. Arriving just after Joe dies, Lee makes arrangements for the funeral with George then seeks to inform his sixteen-year-old nephew Patrick, who’s at the hockey practice. They go to the morgue and then head to Joe’s lawyer to learn his will. To Lee’s surprised, Joe has named him to be Patrick’s guardian. Lee is reluctant, neither wanting to stay in Manchester nor deliver his nephew to his alcoholic mother Elise, and decides to bring Patrick with him to Quincy. Patrick, however, does not want to leave his life in the town. While planning Joe’s burial and funeral, Lee is haunted by his past in Manchester, where he happily lived with his wife Randi and their three children until the night of a tragedy with his family. What will be his final decision?

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