The Oscar chase begins in full for Amazon Studios with this first trailer.
Pretty much every year, at least one film comes out of the Sundance Film Festival with whispers about its Oscar potential. This festival serves as a preview for the next year’s Oscar conversation before the current awards season is even over. And it makes sense especially when one considers that Sundance has an excellent track record of producing Oscar friendly films recently. Last year, it was Brooklyn and the year before had Whiplash and Boyhood. This year, the breakout hit with near universal praise is Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea.
The film is follows Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), who return to his hometown of Manchester after the death of his older brother (Kyle Chandler). In taking care of his brother’s affairs, Lee discovers that his brother named him as the legal guardian of his teenage nephew (newcomer Lucas Hedges). The death of this family member naturally brings other family members and friends back into the picture, including his estranged wife (Michelle Williams), and forces Lee to deal with the past.
Critics have been pouring praise over the film since it created a massive bidding war at Sundance. According to IndieWire, studios such as Sony Pictures Classics, Universal, Fox Searchlight, and Lionsgate all lost out on the distribution rights to Amazon. Reports listed that the streaming studio paid a pretty price tag of around $10 million for the hit drama, making it one of the biggest sales at the fest. Amazon also picked up the quiet hit from earlier this year Love and Friendship and the Rachel Weisz starring Complete Unknown.
I think we can all agree that this has been a pretty tough year for good movies. We have suffered through flop after flop and our high expectations have been met with sad realities and are in desperate need of goodness at the box office. This trailer offers that glimmer of hope bright enough to make this endless and dismal summer worth it. It manages to find that sweet spot of emotional and honest drama of a small town, bittersweet smiles and laughs in the face of heartbreak, and deeply complex family dynamics. It also gives a preview to what will surely be the star of the show: the Boston accents of the cast. Sure, Casey Affleck is getting the best reviews of his career and Michelle Williams will probably render me speechless and Lucas Hedges will end up scoring a part in a big Hollywood blockbuster, but these accents are getting a showcase that will rival their turn in Good Will Hunting.
I have heard nothing but good things about this film and, with this trailer, it is surely near the top of my list of most anticipated movies of 2016. Check out the trailer below and look for Manchester By The Sea to continue its film festival tour by screening at both the New York Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. A limited release is scheduled for the extremely awards friendly date of November 18th before expanding nationwide.