We saw “The Descendants” yesterday. It was me, my husband, my two teenagers and one of their friends. Let me begin by saying that we give it Five Thumbs Up!
The film takes place in Hawaii, and it is not the Hawaii that lives in most people’s dreams. It is just life, being lived. It is not paradise. Yes, there are some gorgeous beaches shown at times, but the day to day lives that we see depicted throughout the film are not beachy and glamorous.
George Clooney could finally win an Academy Award for his portrayel of Matt King, a hard-working, emotionally lacking lawyer/landowner. King is a man who could live off of his ancestor’s real estate holdings, but believes in hard work and teaching his family the value of a dollar. When his wife suffers a tragic boating accident he is left to grapple with the questions of whether he was too distant, too hard, too unwilling to lavish her with the things that she wanted. He is also left with two daughters, aged ten and seventeen, and little idea of what to do with them.
Clooney is just so good in this movie. He wears his chinos pulled up high, looking more than middle-aged for once, and he tops the outfits with faded Hawaiian printed short-sleeved shirts. His hair is frizzy and unkempt, as brilliantly styled as his performance is acted.
His daughters were incredible too. Alex, the troubled eldest, is played by Shailene Woodley, and she is excellent. And the youngest, ten-year old Scottie (what is Scottie short for? Who names a girl Scottie? Isn’t that the name of a cute little black terrier?), will break your heart and she begs for hamburgers and ice cream and fun activities, seemingly oblivious to her mother’s tenuous state and the drama that is unfolding all around her. Amara Miller plays her and she is just adorable.
The movie is not fast paced. It drags a little at times. Think of sitting in a hospital room and watching someone in a coma. There is quite a bit of that. However, this movie should not be missed. It is a real family drama, and you will feel their pain while they do. It’s funny too, though, and absolutely lovely.
“The Descendants” is one of the best films of 2011. See it. It will make you love your loved ones even more than you already do. It will make you appreciate what you have and hopefully remind you to show the love that you feel freely and regularly. Don’t wait until it’s too late to place a kiss on your spouse’s mouth, to hug your child even if he or she doesn’t really want to be hugged. It’s a beautiful movie.