A Traveler’s Octave Highlights


St. Patrick’s on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan received a thorough cleaning and restoration between 2012 and 2015, with scaffolding everywhere. Now the building shimmers, inside and out. I couldn’t believe my eyes; it’s like walking into a brand-new French cathedral in the year 1225, except the tourists all have smartphones, and outside the sidewalks have cordons and Jersey walls to protect the Trump Tower (from Saracens or other enemies?)

…Did you take a chance? and go see Manchester by the Sea? I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie I admired so much as a work of art.

The dramatic climax comes near the middle, like in a Shakespeare play. You love the hero, and you pull for him, and in the end he tosses every conceivable Hollywood expectation out the window he broke with his bare fist.

Few people cry less readily than I do. But I wept during a scene that follows chicken parts falling out of the freezer.

Don’t go unless…you want to hear ‘redemption’ whispered, almost inaudibly, instead of shouted at you in stentorian tones; you can tolerate a lot of bad words and objectionable morals; you like Massachusetts accents; and you believe in art actually trying to imitate life–the inner beauty of people confronting reality in full, even when the wind blows cold.

Dear writer/director Kenneth Lonergan, you have a new fan.


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