Casey Affleck broke my stone cold heart. What a performance. And what writing by Kenneth Lonergan.
This is portrait of grief in several forms. There’s the teenager (Lucas Hedges) who doesn’t yet possess the emotional capacity to grasp what has happened, nor to realise that others around him are affected too. And there’s his uncle Lee (Affleck) who hardly has time to grieve as he deals with the funeral arrangements and fall-out from his brother’s death.
But returning to his home town under such circumstances is difficult for Lee for other reasons too, which we only gradually come to understand. He’s clearly carrying some kind of burden around with him, which leaves him sad and angry and unable to express his emotions coherently.
The writing is brilliant as it gradually reveals Lee’s history, and it allows Casey Affleck to inhabit this isolated man and eventually share with us the depth of his pain.
The only criticism I have is that some of the score choices didn’t work in the important moments, and even spoiled them a little.
But I was left deeply moved by the story, in awe of Affleck’s performance, and with a desire to visit the New England coast.