In Hawaii, a near-fatal boating accident leaves a wife and mother in a coma. When her land baron husband discovers she was having an affair, he takes his two teenage daughters to Kauai to confront the other man.
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*1/2. I understand the concept of The Descendants. Hawaï, a territory composed of many islands, the Tranes, a family composed of scattered members and cousins. The film is about reunification. Yes! Yesyesyes. And it's about all, folks. Pretty weak for a film d'auteur. Nearly instant crap.
I thought this film had quite a lot of potential but in the end left me with the bitter aftertaste of artificiality and commercialism. There is the huge journey and in the end we are led to the conclusion, an obvious one at that, but we have no resolution -- no satisfaction, no lessons learned. Just nothing. Maybe this is some sort of statement on existentialist malaise. Maybe not. I didn't buy it.
Anyone who thought this movie was a good movie should be shot in the head. Therefore, I should be shot in the head. What I thought was going to be a white people problem movie actually turned out to be a somber tale of forgiveness. I mean, sure, it's well shot and acted but those are things you can tell from the trailer. What the trailer lacks is the humanity of the movie. Also, I want the soundtrack.
The comparisons to Wilder and Renoir are not off. The Descendants is a deeply felt and emotional film, but one that never crosses over into schmaltz territory. Clooney is a great actor in the vein of classic Hollywood leading men, and his performance here solidifies just how serious of a talent he is. It's just a shame he isn't taken more seriously by some. But the film-any film that can stir such emotion is amazing.
At some point the film is awkwardly nice, portraying the human situation in a strange comic way. But there are some points that just too much, even juisy, loss its insight, and somehow manufactured. It still fun to watch, but nothng
painfully lacking in insight, skirting nuance in almost every portrayal of familial relationships, with a totally miscast clooney whose performance can't illuminate the character's motivations. dishonest fraud, cheaply manufactured emotions. woodley is the only part of the film that feels vaguely honest but she's saddled with terrible dialogue (i cringe when i think of her saying the word "twat").
Clooney acts the hell out of this with the seasoned professionalism of an actor who never seems to be "acting." Everything else is average. Teeters on the brink of eye-rolling for the rich, white people problems factor--a bit heavy, even for Payne.
It's a good attempt at showing another side of life in the Hawaiian Islands. The sound track is awesome~if you love Hawaiian music as I do. You really must read the book to understand the history ... Kaui Hart Hemmings wrote the book and as always, I think script writers and authors are the unsung heroes.