Yesterday Andy and I finally got around to watching "The Descendants"—I don't know how it happened, but that is surely the longest I've ever waited to watch George Clooney for a solid 2 hours! He's of course really, really handsome (really!), but I also like watching him act. I've seen him do nice guys, bad guys, funny guys, no matter what, I think he can do it all. Plus, the handsome thing.
So this is the story of Matt King, a direct descendant of Hawaiian royalty. There are two plots going on. The main one is that Matt's wife is in a coma after a speedboat accident, and he is confronting the fact that he's mostly been an absentee dad (and husband) for quite a few years. His two daughters (and his father-in-law) are quick to remind him of his shortcomings. The older daughter is played by Shailene Woodley, and I thought she did a terrific job, which bodes well for the much-anticipated film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, coming June 6 to a theater near you!* (I've already promised Steph and her friend that we can go on opening day. If you haven't read the book yet, do that first, just in case the movie ruins it.) The second plot line has Matt in a position to sell off 25,000 acres of pristine land on Kauai and split the proceeds with his cousins. He is under pressure from everyone in the family (and, seemingly, everyone in the state) to sell to someone Hawaiian, or to sell to the highest bidder (who is not Hawaiian), or to not sell at all.
I had some minor quibbles. I saw no reason to include Sid, the goofy boyfriend, who was trying his hardest to resurrect the Keanu Reeves character in "Parenthood" and not succeeding. He really detracted from a number of scenes for me. There were also a ton of continuity blunders—for instance, a couple of times you'd see Clooney clean-shaven in one shot and then stubbly in the next. (But you still get to look at his face, so there's that!) But all in all, a really lovely movie.
*There's been a bit of a to-do about the tagline for the TFIOS movie poster: "One sick love story." I don't mind it one bit. For one thing, it's a story about teens with cancer, so they are sick. But also, from my experience, teens today don't use "sick" to mean demented or deranged; they use it to mean awesome or cool. As in, "My friend's house has a mini movie theater and a pool—it's sick!" John Green (the author of the novel) had this to say:
I did not write the tagline.…These things are not my decision. It’s not my movie, or my poster.…That said, I like the tag line.…I mostly wanted something that said, “This is hopefully not going to be a gauzy, sentimental love story that romanticizes illness and further spreads the lie that the only reason sick people exist is so that healthy people can learn lessons.” But that’s not a very good tag line. I like the tag line because it says, literally, the sick can also have love stories. Love and joy and romance are not just things reserved for the well.
That said, I might be wrong. I’m wrong all the time.