The Descendants

“Everything has it’s time” and this is very much the theme in this movie set in Hawaii.  A successful lawyer, Matt King (George Clooney) finds himself having to reconnect with his family after his wife suffers a boating accident that leaves her in a coma. The prognosis is not good and King not only has to deal with the reaction of his two daughters to the news, but also unearth some skeletons in his wifes cupboard that he has no choice but to face up to. Add to all that a backdrop story of  a land sale of 25,000 acres of unspoilt Hawaiien beauty bequethed to himself and a vast body of cousins, then at once the movie aptly reflects the feeling of life moving one on before, if ever, one is ready to move with it.

Everything has it’s time and when that time arrives it can catch you by surprise. The film could have easily made the mistake of ramming the situation down your throat and letting the character react to it in a rather cliched manner. Indeed, some of the characters reactions are deliberately cliched and self-indulgent, which contrasts beautifully with the much subtler more genuine and confused reactions of others. Like 50/50, this movie invites us to question our own attitudes to life, death and grieving. Peoples general reaction to bad news is often hollow, soulless routines that do little to address deeper, visceral feelings. I guess the cliches are there to fill in our lack of preparation when these situations arrive. We see King often lying that his wife is fine, just so he can escape such cliche from those whom he meets. It also includes reactions from other featured characters that are awkward, inappropriate or just plane weird. I most enjoyed the young daughter bringing her “friend” from school to the hospital because her friend didn’t believe her mother was in a coma. Once she saw it to be true, her friend just shrugged and left.

It was nice to watch a Clooney film that didn’t (obviously) try to woo the female viewers. He’s a good actor. Ok, maybe not Academy Award winning, but nevertheless. The rest of the cast play well as an ensemble but don’t appear to have been set anything too challenging actingwise, which is no bad thing. As I say, don’t want to over egg the pudding. Nor do I feel it will win Best Film because it’s not groundbreaking. But again that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable. And I’ve not read the book it was based on so I can’t comment about the screenplay adaptation. The Hawaiian guitar music played throughout was nice, but not exactly John Williams. However, I found little in this film that I would describe as cinematic. Everything has it’s time. So that said, I’d suggest you wait for the DVD on this one.

Posted in 2012, BAFTA's 2012, Oscar's 2012 | Leave a comment

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