The universal praise and frenetic bidding war that enveloped the Sundance premiere of Manchester by the Sea was hard to miss. That Amazon (with Roadside Attractions) won out with a promised theatrical run and awards season push only heightened its profile, placing it squarely at the forefront of industry-changing conversations about the role of streaming companies in film production and distribution.

Amazon publicly states that they’re targeting a void with the films they acquire, providing a home for quality, non-mainstream films that have been suffering since many indie labels closed their doors. The company is large enough to take financial risks, and by branding itself as the high-brow alternative to its main competitor (the Adam Sandler-indulging, scattershot Netflix), they could easily see an increase in Prime memberships that would feed revenue to its other departments.

source: Amazon Studios & Roadside Attractions

Whatever the company’s end goal truly is, their currently stated ambitions make it the perfect place for a Kenneth Lonergan drama. The writer and director has a reputation for making films that don’t follow traditional narrative structures, instead letting his worlds sprawl out with little superfluous tension.

Yes, his characters are often in dramatic situations, but they don’t stray outside of the uncomfortable fumbling that you or I would do in real life, which makes his films feel awkwardly restrained compared to other silver screen offerings.

Manchester by the Sea looks to be no different than Lonergan’s previous films, with average people facing an average if tragic set of circumstances. Boasting an impressive cast that is too large to list, the wait for this film has been long, but it will likely be worth the delay.

Manchester by the Sea is directed by Kenneth Lonergan and stars Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, and Michelle Williams. It will be released in the U.S. on November 18th, 2016 and in the U.K. on January 13th, 2017. For international release dates, click here.

Do you think Manchester by the Sea will live up to Lonergan’s reputation? Let us know in the comments!

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