The South Pacific ain't that terrific.
With his wife Elizabeth on life support after a boating accident, Hawaiian land baron Matt King takes his daughters on a trip from Oahu to Kauai to confront the young real estate broker, who was having an affair with Elizabeth before her misfortune.
Me, for the first 5-10 minutes: This is sort of familiar and lightweight.
Me, for the rest of the movie: This is wonderful, and I'm an ass, and shut up there's just something in both of my eyes.
After returning from an eight year absence Alexander Payne continues in his rich vein form when it comes to adapting novels. For this touching family drama he revisits the same elements that brought acclaim to previous films About Schmidt and Sideways.
Based on the novel of the same name, this film is centred on Hawaiian lawyer Matt King and his family as they attempt to cope with a dramatic trauma. The cast control the emotions of Payne’s screenplay magnificently, producing heartfelt performances where, whether by intense outbursts or repressed sobs, each tear is more realistic than the last.
In the lead role, Clooney provides one of his finest performances in recent years. He is solely responsible for selling a large…
What could have so easily been an overly sentimental and cloying movie about grief, family and relationships deftly skirts the obvious pitfalls to deliver a beautifully judged character piece that has a refreshing lightness without avoiding the more emotional issues at the centre of the story.
It all started so differently with an unnecessary and heavy-handed voice over narration that spelled out themes and metaphors that the audience should have discovered themselves (the way he relates the islands of Hawaii to his own family seemed particularly obvious). Yet after 15-minutes the narration is jettisoned and the film slowly finds its feet. There is little here in story terms that will come as a surprise but the journey is sensitively handled…
Though I originally may have mistaken 'clumsy' for 'offbeat', I didn't get suckered that first time on the heart. This really is a moving film with great performances.
I'm in two minds as to whether The Descendants deserves more than three and a half stars. Half of me wants to raise it to four, and the other half is telling me to not be such a coward. At the time of its release, so many critics sang it's praises, claiming that this was the performance of George Clooney's career. I'm not disputing that. What I am disputing is that this film "will go down in history" as a masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, it is good, but it is not outstanding. It is affecting and successful as a family drama, in that it is funny and moving, but it left me somewhat underwhelmed considering the hype. Perhaps that's…
Payne is so great at showing how people can be absurd, heartlessly unfeeling and deeply loving, sometimes within the space of a moment. Very moving (and un-manipulative) performances and great to see an American film set in a specific, unique location with it's own culture and quirks.
Matt King: My friends on the mainland think just because I live in Hawaii, I live in paradise. Like a permanent vacation. We're all just out here sipping Mai Tais, shaking our hips, and catching waves. Are they insane?
Matt King: [voice-over] Paradise? Paradise can go fuck itself.
Matt King: What is it that makes the women in my life destroy themselves?
Clooney is fantastic as usual he holds it all together without making it flashy. The tone is very good, combination of drama, humor and the mundane.
I had missed the Descendants in its run last year and had been looking forward to catching up with it. On Sunday night I was hung over and I had just sat through my beloved football team sink to even further lows. I was feeling the perfect level of self pity to be swept up the films loneliness and dark humoured melancholia.
Like Sideways and About Schmidt, I found Alexander Payne focusing on world weary characters fumbling their way through a mid-life crisis with a balanced mix of dark humour and emotional substance. Although we recognise their flaws almost immediately, we empathise with Matt King (Clooney, The Descendants), Miles (Giamatti, Sideways) and Schmidt (Nicholson, About Schmidt).
I thought the acting…
Forgot how fantastic this film was. Clooney is absolutely superb and Payne just goes from strength to strength. Can't wait for Nebraska.
My expectations were lowered straightaway in the overwrought, expositional narration over the first few minutes, with such gemsas "We haven't spoken in three days. In some ways, you could say we haven't really spoken for months" and "My family is like Hawaii, like a series of islands each part of a greater whole, but slowly drifting away from one another". Thank god the Academy gave this an Oscar for Screenwriting, it's good to see such subtlety given the recognition it needed.
So after being punched in the face with the film's themes, we're treated to two hours of what is basically a Hallmark or Lifetime movie, or perhaps two, as the oldest soap tropes in the book - the dying…
Excellent film. A great adult film, too. By which I mean a movie FOR adults.
I'd say it's George Clooney's best performance, but he's actually given quite a few in that regard.
This movie makes him one of THE actors of 2011, doing both this film and directing, writing AND starring in The Ides of March.
I have much respect for this man.
And Alexander Payne is just the man, isn't he? Who writes better movies set in the real world than him? You can just hear people you know in his movies. It's uncanny.
Oh what a wonderful film. I can’t remember the last movie I saw with such well developed characters. Hats off to the writers and their Oscar-winning screenplay. The performances all around are great. I was rooting for Clooney, but once again he came home from the Oscars empty handed. Shailene Woodley is also incredible in her weighty role. They play well off each other and have a surprisingly strong dynamic. The direction, too, is top notch. Payne hits all the right notes, only straying off key for a measure or two.
Near the film’s midpoint, I gasped at the power of cinematography. A scene follows one of the cousins in his Jeep to visit the land they own, and there’s…
This is a really sad movie.
I wish, in the end, that there had been more to it. I wanted to know why the older daughter had gone off the rails, who the hell Sid was, and how Elizabeth had wound up having an affair with such a douchebag.
Clooney's character starts the film by saying he was always the "back-up parent", and seeing him take the lead role with his daughters was gratifying. But I still felt lost at the end of it, and like that experienced by the characters, it felt like a senseless kind of grief.