Last weekend, I went to see Manchester by the Sea and have to say it was one of the more important movies that I've seen in a long time. It was the kind of movie that was made in the height of indie cinema in the late '90s, but doesn't often get made today since it's not an easy movie and not a movie that fits into a pre-defined marketing category. This is a story about sadness, about dealing with sadness, about learning to live again after sadness. I wouldn't call it a depressing movie. It's about healing. While it's definitely sad, it's ultimately uplifting by the end.
One of the things that is curious about this movie, and one of the things that makes it important, is that it is specifically about men and how men deal with sadness. Despite the advances our society has made, there is still this prevailing idea out there that men should deal with sadness in the traditional way. This movie examines that concept in a powerful way and shows how tragic that concept can be. It also shows the private side of male bonding and the healing power of that bond.
While I enjoyed La La Land immensely, and thought it a fun love story, it's not on the same level as this film. There is a scene between Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, the scene in the poster pictured above, that is perhaps the best acted scene that I've ever watched. For that scene alone, both deserve Oscars, as does the film. This will be the first year in many that I've watched the Academy Awards with a winner to root for.