Friday, January 13, 2012
Film Review: The Descendants
Well you know me - I can never resist the opportunity to see George on the big screen, even if the movie is terrible. Thankfully in this case, it wasn't.
The story is about a man living in Hawaii with two daughters, and his wife has suddenly gone into a coma. There is also this secondary (and very interesting) plot line about his decision whether or not to sell "one of the last pieces of unspoiled Hawaiian land" that has been passed down in his family for generations.
Now I'm going to be straight with you - it moves pretty slowly. You spend a lot of time looking at Hawaiian scenery and watching conversations with a person in a coma. It's from Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways), and you can definitely tell by the pace in which he tells the story. This man cares about detail more than he does about tearing through scenes. So that might scare you off right from the start, and if it does, well I understand.
But if it doesn't, you might want to give it a shot. I found the characters and the dialogue to be "real" in a way that is pretty rare to see on screen. The conversations get awkward at times, and you wonder the character would say something so stupid, or inappropriate. The reason it's so jarring is because we're used to things "sounding" nicer on screen. But I found refreshing. The plot line also takes a few turns towards the unlikely but somehow it didn't feel contrived. So if you think you can handle the pace, some tears, and some language go for it.
I think this reviewer sums it up best:
"And what The Descendants dwells on, better than any film in years, is how, just beneath the surface of that teenager who seems a shrugging idiot or that woman who seems an everyday mom, rustles an undergrowth of pain, or loss, or heartache".