Love: DVD Review – The Descendants

Being a parent with a young child means far less fun nights-out, and certainly far less fun nights-out with Husband. Most of the time, I’m ok with that, as I am a bit of a couch potato, home-body-type anyway. However, the one thing I really miss is being able to pop out, with Husband, to watch a movie at the cinema – as this is one of my all-time favourite things to do. Nowadays, it’s a real treat when we get to do this. In between babysitters, we like to get the odd DVD or movie on Foxtel Box Office. Recently, I was sent a text from my local Blockbuster saying I had a free overnight loan for my birthday (bonus) so off I went to choose us a DVD. I could have chosen something far more chick-flick-like, but then I would have been destined to hear complaints all night and would probably have to let Husband choose the next DVD – bad move.

So, The Descendants (2011) was the closest to being a drama, without being too chick-flick-ish (new word for the dictionary there). Of course George Clooney is my main reason for choosing this DVD (I hear all you women sighing out there) and thankfully, he’s also an awesome actor, which made for a more enjoyable viewing experience for all involved. The Director, Alexander Payne, who is also a producer and screenwriter, has a very specific style. He also directed Sideways (2004) and About Schmidt (2002), along with many others – these films are all filmed in a more realistic way, with natural (dimmer, darker) lighting and actual real life people in minor roles, such as policemen and teachers (I guess this adds to realism).

The story is told from the point of view of Matt King, (George Clooney) not long after his extreme-sport-loving wife has been in a speed-boating accident and is unconscious in hospital, leaving him to care for their two daughters; Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) and Scottie (Amara Miller) – this is a major challenge for him in itself, as his eldest, teenage daughter (Alexandra) seems to detest him. Whilst watching, I really felt for him and his devastating situation, but at the same time, I felt frustrated with him for making some of the decisions that he did.

There are a few surprises along the way and some sad moments. But, along with the austere storyline, there are some comedic elements that generally come from Alexandra’s dumb-ass ‘friend’, Sid (Nick Krause). And although the storyline sounds quite depressing, it has quite an uplifting conclusion, that actually made me appreciate life and living for the now – enjoying what I’ve got.

I would recommend this movie, if not only for George Clooney’s acting, (and rugged handsomeness) but also some of the scenery of beautiful Hawaii (where it is filmed). The film is also a little unconventional in its style, which makes for a nice change from the Hollywood norm.

Have you seen, or heard about The Descendants? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, are you interested now?

Alison

*Photos taken from IMDB website

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14 thoughts on “Love: DVD Review – The Descendants

  1. I saw the Descendants at the movies a couple of months ago and I have to admit, I found it a little slow. The scenery was amazing and I thought the two daughters and boyfriend were very convincing in their roles. The other problem I had was seeing George Clooney as anything other than a “winner”. He’s usually portrayed as a handsome, confident lady’s man who ends up having the world at his feet. In this movie, he’s playing the underdog who is struggling with every aspect of his life. George’s acting, as usual, was very good – I just think that, perhaps, he was mis-cast for this movie. xox

    • Thanks for your little review Ma – you are quite impatient with slow films, aren’t you? It was a tad slow in places, but I’m ok with that…I have patience – ha! I wonder who you would have thought would be better in this role? I think there are many movies that mis-cast their actors! x

  2. I really really liked this movie. I watched it on the plane back from Oslo but fell asleep and slept for 7 hours so missed about 20 minutes of the ending. I therefore am going to rent it so my boyfriend can see it too and I can finally see the ending. I love when the teacher asks Clooney to talk to his daughter about the grief and he says that he will but he ends up just telling her off. So hilarious and poignant at the same time.

    PS – I am a couch potato too X

  3. I loved this movie too. Made me laugh, cry and everything in between. It is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while x

  4. I recently watched The Descendents on DVD and found it moving, funny and beautifully filmed. I was subsequently surprised to hear how many people found it slow and boring.

    I wish I had made the effort to see it at the cinema!

  5. I haven’t seen this movie. I meant to see it when it first came out in Hong Kong, but I felt that I couldn’t emotionally cope with it because I was so homesick and feeling pretty miserable. But, now I’m ready. I also thought George was remarkable in ‘The American’, and I’m not usually a George fan – believe it or not. xo

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