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Bennett Miller on ‘Manchester by the Sea’: ‘The Film Itself Feels Conscious’

The "Foxcatcher" director is in awe of his colleague Kenneth Lonergan.

"Manchester By The Sea"

“Manchester by the Sea”

Manchester by the Sea” is one of the year’s most acclaimed films, and it isn’t just critics praising it. Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Foxcatcher”) has written about Kenneth Lonergan’s follow-up to “Margaret” for Variety’s Directors on Directors series, calling it “the kind of work that makes me, as a filmmaker, want to continue. It’s inspiring.”

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“The film itself feels conscious, as if you’re inside and under the influence of a mind, and though never identified, the character of the film is for me as significant as the story itself,” he continues. “You feel it. The steadfast attention that admits the complexities and oddities of real life, the mundanity, the absurdity, the humor, moments that would otherwise be dismissed as pedestrian begin to add up to something epic. For me, this is the mark of a filmmaker.”

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Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and newcomer Lucas Hedges star in the drama, which takes a nuanced, slow-burning approach to grief and mourning. “How does a film like this come to be?” asks Miller. “It seems as if it all was discovered. As if it arose from a genuine search by a great filmmaker and an extraordinary cast.” Read his full comments here.

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