The Descendants [FQ13 #64]

As George Clooney deals with the news that his wife will never come out of her coma, his life’s Hawaiian blue skies become cloudier as more news surfaces, but reconnecting with his daughters may just provide a life-altering silver lining.

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Why I Saw It: The film got nominated for Best Picture, and seeing nominated films are part of the quest. I’ve yet to see a performance from George Clooney that I didn’t enjoy. Shailene Woodley got some great reviews for her performance, so I wanted to see what the young actress had to offer.

Rating: 6.2 out of 10
When I say this movie wasn’t very entertaining, it’s not because there was really any sort of depressing tone. It actually had something of a hopeful tone, it just didn’t have many endearing aspects. Best Picture Nominee? Not in my book.

Memorable Performances: The work from Shailene Woodley was above average, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to call it unbelievable. She did some things to set her apart from being a moody teenager who warms up to her father, but not much. Robert Forster was decent, and if it weren’t for the fact that his role was so small, I might remember this about as much as what he did in Jackie Brown.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Best Supporting Actress – Shailene Woodley (but only because the field is somewhat slim)

Favorite Parts: There really weren’t any. Near the end, George Clooney’s character gets a visit from Judy Greer’s character, and that scene could’ve been really good… but it wasn’t. Beau Bridges always has potential for being good, but he wasn’t entertaining. Perhaps the Hawaiian scenery was my favorite part of the movie.

The Regrettable Aspects: The pacing. The annoying and useless boyfriend of Shailene Woodley’s character. Matthew Lillard (seriously, how did he get cast in this?). The lack of comedy and charm.

Would I watch it again? If someone really wanted to change my opinion on this film, I’d consider watching it again, but it would have to be on a day where there was almost no other option. I’d rather watch this movie than sit in a car listening to a radio, but it’s close…

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  Anyone who is trying to see all of the Best Picture nominees for a year and attempt to form their own opinions should see this film. Everyone else should strongly consider seeing something else.

Other Recommendations:

UP IN THE AIR – Easily a more enjoyable George Clooney drama. Not even close.

– IN THE BEDROOM – A great character-driven film about dealing with loss.

– ABOUT SCHMIDT – This isn’t one of my FAVORITE films, but I know some people who really enjoy it (my dad especially). Jack Nicholson is really good in it, and it’s written & directed by the same guy (Alexander Payne) who wrote & directed The Descendants.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to THE DESCENDANTS, or for other similar films, let me know!

Next up… Lara Croft: Tomb Raider!

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2 responses to “The Descendants [FQ13 #64]

  1. Honest and raw, without ever going for melodrama. That’s how I like my dramas, and that’s why I like Alexander Payne so much as a writer and director. Good review.

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