The Film Comment Podcast: Tearjerkers and Manchester by the Sea
There’s more to tearjerkers than the deceptively simple term might suggest, and in this episode of the Film Comment podcast, we consider the nuanced workings of cinematic sorrow. Is a tearjerker expressly and solely designed to elicit collective weeping, or is the effect of the button-pushing more personalized than we might admit? Does it count if a film moves its viewers to a profound silence rather than outright sobs? And what exactly makes us cry? The release of Kenneth Lonergan’s new film Manchester by the Sea has brought these questions to the forefront of cinematic circles, and Film Society Editorial Director Michael Koresky’s feature in the new Film Comment explores how Lonergan’s cinema is structured by the experience of grieving. Our conversation spins off into a broader discussion of the “tearjerker” film, its ways and means, and why one might beware of watching any remotely traumatic film on a plane. Film Comment Digital Editor Violet Lucca is joined by Koresky and FC contributors Shonni Enelow, assistant professor of English at Fordham University, and Mark Harris of Vulture.