R | | Drama
A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.
Matt Damon was initially set to direct and star in the film. Back in 2011, Damon, concerned about Kenneth Lonergan's 'horrible limbo', wanted to do something nice for his friend. So he sat in Lonergan's Manhattan apartment and pitched him an idea for a script about a New England handyman who ends up with custody of his dead brother's teen son - a story Damon thought would be right up Lonergan's dark alley. The idea for Manchester by the Sea actually was hatched by John Krasinski. Krasinski shared his nascent pitch with Damon over dinner in 2011 during the filming of The Adjustment Bureau (2011) (in which Damon co-starred with Krasinski's wife, Emily Blunt). They actually grew up a few bus stops from each other in Massachusetts - Damon in Cambridge, Krasinski in Newton. Damon liked Krasinski's idea so much, he considered not only starring in the film but also making it his directorial debut. They wasted no time heading to New York to pitch Lonergan. Embroiled in his Margaret (2011) troubles (the film was being held up from release by a lawsuit filed by producer Gary Gilbert, who was demanding a shortened re-edit that Lonergan was refusing to make) and committed to other stage projects, it took Lonergan a couple of years to get a first draft written. By then, Damon's schedule had filled up and he'd had second thoughts about directing the project, although he still wanted to star in it. Lonergan, meanwhile, finally had seen movement on Margaret (the film had a limited release in 2011; the court case was settled in 2014) and was starting to think about stepping behind a camera again. "He came back with this 150-page draft. It was too long, but it had everything that was in the movie." Damon urged Lonergan to make Manchester by the Sea (2016) his next directing job. Even with Damon still attached to star and produce, financing was hard to come by. And then, another blow: Damon had to drop out as the lead because of a slew of other commitments that would have delayed production for years. He recruited childhood friend Casey Affleck to take his place.
Who you gonna shoot, you or me?
The shot of Route 128, from when Lee is first driving to Manchester, doesn't make sense. If he's going from Quincy to Manchester, he would be on the other side of the highway, and the rest stop and sign for the local theater would be visible, but from the other side. He would also be going uphill, not downhill. The way the shot is set up would imply he's going in the opposite direction of Manchester.
In Australia, the film was originally passed MA-15+ uncut, however the distributors opted to re-edit the audio and cut the length of the film, in order to remove every use of the term 'c-t' and 'motherf--er'. Following these changes the film was later re-classified and the rating was lowered to 'M'.
$4,223,828 (USA) (18 December 2016)
$47,695,120 (USA) (21 April 2017)