Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: The Descendants

The Wife: I was under the impression that NOT TALKING was the main rule of viewing a film at the movie theatre. This concept was apparently lost to the handful of older adults (and by "old" I mean people probably in their 50s), who did not keep quiet during the entire showing of The Descendants last Friday evening. I mean seriously folks, teenagers know how to be quiet at the theatre! I am sure the husband will elaborate further on this incident in his typical dry-humor style below. Well, aside from the overbearing chatter and annoying, unnecessary, over-dramatic gasps we endured at the theatre, I must say that The Descendants is an amazing movie. It is certainly deserving of every Oscar nomination it's received.

The Descendants is set in beautiful Hawaii, which creates some gorgeous backdrops. The film shows a "softer" side of George Clooney as his character Matt must cope with several deep family issues. First off, in the beginning of the movie it is shown that Matt's wife, Elizabeth, is currently in the hospital on life support after suffering from a horrific boating accident. We later are introduced to Matt's two daughters, the youngest, Scottie, and the oldest, Alexandra. Early on, we learn that his relationship with the two girls is quite strained, and that he doesn't consider himself to be a great father or husband. His relationship with Alexandra, who is portrayed by Shailene Woodley (most known for her work in The Secret Life of the American Teenager) is the most distant. From the moment Woodley's character comes on screen, viewers can see that she hasn't exactly been a "model daughter" herself. She shows little respect for her father at first, but it is evident that she loves him. Early on we learn from Alexandra that Matt's hospitalized wife was having an affair with a local real estate man. After finding this out, Matt does some further digging and is told that his wife was planning to ask for a divorce prior to her accident. This revelation further complicates the emotions that Matt is going through. All of this is also going on during the time period where Matt, who was named the trustee of his family's land, must decide whether to sell or keep the property, which is his family's only direct tie to Hawaii.

As the movie progresses, we see Matt cope with the issues above, and eventually come to a point of forgiveness, all the while learning more about himself as a person and establishing a better relationship with his daughters. Matt also transforms into a better father, and as he changes, his views on the importance of his family's land changes. While The Descendants is an emotional journey, the film's end left me with a calming sense of peace.

Of course, The Descendants has many "sad moments," but there are bits of humor scattered throughout it. The acting is superb as well. Like I mentioned previously, Clooney was great. Credit must be given to Woodley though. I admit that I was VERY SKEPTICAL about how she would perform in this movie. The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which stars Woodley as the lead character and is one of my guilty pleasure shows, was my only view of her as an actress prior to The Descendants. In The Secret Life, I would give her acting skills maybe a 4.5 on a scale of 10. She blew me a way in The Descendants, however. Her character encounters a range of emotions, and she nailed each and every one of them. I can't believe the Oscars snubbed her by not giving her a Best Supporting Actress nomination, and meanwhile Melissa McCarthy of freaking Bridesmaids gets a nomination!?!? Really Academy?!?! As if I wasn't mad enough about the massive Harry Potter snub! Ok...talking about Harry Potter will get me totally off topic...so back to the movie of discussion! The Descendants was an amazing movie and I would highly recommend it! I'd love to see Clooney win Best Actor and I wouldn't have a single problem if The Descendants takes home the coveted Best Picture award either!

Hobo Dan: So I had a great paragraph about the loud idiot patrol that tried to ruin the movie and a joke about slushy gernades and the little kid who wanted to pee with his grandpa in the stall at Olive Garden. It all got erased. So here is what I have to say about people who talking during movies. Stop it, you inconsiderate ninnies. If you utter one more word I will walk up there and slap you across the face so hard your descendants will feel it (see what I did there). Inner monologue, get one. And lady who is crying uncontrollably, are you okay? Seriously the movie is emotional, but you are obviously carrying some baggage into the theater. Therapy?

So, The Descendants, a very enjoyable emotional tale, with George Clooney in it. I've got to admit, I'm not a huge Clooney fan. He sometimes seems like the same character in all his movies. Anyways, the acting in this movie was tops. Even that chick from that terrible ABC Family show wasn't half bad. Okay, she was actually pretty good. If it does end up winning the Best Picture Oscar, it deserves it.

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