"Goodbye, Elizabeth. Goodbye, my love, my friend, my pain, my joy. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye."
So you have the award seasons, you get a bunch of new films to watch that there's so much hype built around them, naturally you would be excited to sit down and enjoy a good social drama. This however did not apply in my opinion for the new film of Alexander Payne, 'The Descendants'.
The story talks about Matt King, a Hawaiian land baron, whose wife goes on life support after a boating accident and takes his daughters on a trip from Oahu to Kauai to confront the young real estate broker, who was having an affair with his wife before her misfortune. (www.imdb.com)
Pretty straightforward story with linear narration and an eerie atmosphere. But the drama in this specific social drama is rather lacking. Throughout the film, the pacing felt odd at moments, the music felt way too up-lifting for the tragedy that this family was going through and the performances left me unemotional and unattached to the characters emotional journey.
It felt more like a travel guide to the Hawaiian islands rather than a social family drama in all honesty. Clooney did his best to carry through his character, to hold this film through, with only one scene that tried to get you attached to his character's drama, but which in the end it left you indifferent and apathetic to his sadness or frustrations.
Worthy to note the cameo of Beau Bridges, who give a more central-american performing feel to the whole film, but who did not fill the story with his character's story-line.
The film was musically designed from beginning to end with Hawaiian music, thus making it all the more hard to really disentangle myself from thinking how beautiful the landscape was and simply focus on the story.
Alexander Payne's directing leaves you wanting as on the one hand brings you a more down-to-earth approach of a family drama but which on the other it does not make you empathize or sympathize with the characters' emotions.
A film I watched once and would not watch again if it was up to me. Watch it if you would like to have an overview of the award season's films out there.
The Descendants (2011)