Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is a brooding, irritable loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. One damp winter day he gets a call summoning him to his hometown, north of the city.
His brother Joe's (Kyle Chandler) heart has given out suddenly, and he's been named guardian to his 16-year-old nephew. As if losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren't enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy.
Director, Kenneth Lonergan found the right man in Affleck, standing stony-faced while others weep, his performance a master class in submerged feeling. But it's Williams who stuns, in the course of a single, astonishing dialogue toward the end of the film.