Suck it up. Keep it to yourself. Man up. These are familiar mottos of masculinity, phrases that — even if unsaid — encapsulate how men are traditionally supposed to react to trauma. Overt expressions of grief are implicitly forbidden within our modern conception of ‘manliness’.
In Manchester by the Sea, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan studies this brand of maleness — defined by emotional reluctance and reticence — while adroitly examining how damaging these paralysing strictures can be.