Thursday, April 30, 2015

(Spoilers) The Descendants Review

***SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers may be found in the post below about VARIOUS ITEMS. And I'm going to add in a bit of filler text here to limit how much of the main article gets shown in a preview. That should take care of most of it. Hopefully. And away we go. SPOILER WARNING. ***

Heard it won an Oscar, it was on TV, I got Up in the Air vibes from it, which I loved, so I had to see it.

Matt King's (George Clooney) wife is in a coma and he has to decide what to do with a land deal. It's all set in beautiful Hawaii. Drama?

Good or Bad?
That really short summary about the coma and land deal didn't do the story justice at all. There was a lot more drama involved regarding Matt's wife. Most of the movie actually ended up being about dealing with that drama -- she was cheating on him, they went to track him down. The other big part of the movie was about a major land deal. Matt and his family, the descendants, inherited land they couldn't legally keep anymore. I think The Descendants was about grief, mourning, letting go, and family. The land deal part was important, but I probably didn't appreciate it as much as I should have. Having to deal with the death of his wife and the cheating influenced his decision regarding the land.

The acting, I found, was excellent, especially from George Clooney and Shailene Woodley who played his daughter. They managed to show a range of emotions regarding death and betrayal in the family. And the development of their father-daughter relationship and character growth felt very well done. Sid, a friend of Shailene Woodley's character, was the one who surprised me the most. He ended up playing a major supporting role and came off as a pretty likeable character.

Hawaii was also beautifully used throughout the movie. It wasn't set on just a single island of Hawaii, and large, wide shots were used that helped showcase parts of the state. I also enjoyed the monologue in the beginning about life on the islands. The Descendants seemed to make it a mission to show off the state and it did it well in my view. Hawaii-Five-O doesn't do a bad job either -- Lost did a great job, too bad Hawaii always seemed to stand in for anything but Hawaii.

There was something about the tone that made this a really good movie that I watched over and over again. It was sad and tragic yet beautiful and funny all at once. And the swearing, my goodness, I even picked a new word or two up. Can't wait to see it again?

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