When I become aware of a movie that I might be interested in, I don’t read reviews about it other than to look for stars or grades or whatever. If I know I want to go see a movie, I try my best to learn about the movie during the movie as it was intended to be. I don’t want to know about the movie ahead of time and then feel like I’m watching a repeat while watching the movie for the first time. So I went to see a movie called the Descendants that I thought was going to be a quirky movie about a guy whose ex-wife dies and he gets to know his 3 kids better after her death when he discovers that she was seeing somebody else. What the movie is actually about (and if you follow my advice, you’ve either already seen the movie or you will stop reading now) is a guy whose wife (not ex) ends up in a coma for most of the movie and during that time, gets to know his 2 kids better while finding out she was cheating on him in the short time before her accident. The actual movie was a much better story than the movie I had guessed I was going to see from the pictures and trailer. I was more emotionally involved for all the characters than I would have been with the movie I thought I was going to see. And this is exactly why I do like to see the movie for the first time without much prior knowledge. It makes it all the more impactful.
Much was made of the older daughters ability to “cry underwater” which still doesn’t seem like that great a feat. However, acting for much of the movie with George Clooney in the scene does seem like a great feat for a 20 year-old and good for her. (No, not Oscar worthy, but there will probably be more good movies for her in the future.) And damn if I didn’t get choked up when it was time to say goodbye to the mother/wife in the coma.
I did have a one major complaint. I had seen pictures of Clooney walking with 2 girls and a boy and naturally assumed all three would be his kids. Turns out the boy, Sid, was just a friend of the older girl. Okay. But the silliness is that he’s new to the family, accompanies them on the mission to tell people about the imminent death, acts doltish, and yet isn’t jettisoned by the otherwise smart Doug. We don’t learn why he is helpful to the older daughter until later in the movie and we realize that he is actually helping everybody by the end of the movie. But I think Doug needed to have learned that earlier in the story for him to allow Sid to stay in the story at all. At least at the very end, it was just Doug and his daughters in the outrigger and on the couch.
Rating: 8 (out of 10)