DVD Review: The Descendants

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The Descendants ~ Fox Searchlight and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Fox Searchlight sent me a screening disc of The Descendants for review on my dad blog (giveaway ends soon). The movie is based on a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Below is a quick summary of the film. The Descendants is available now on on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD. Continue reading for the full Blu-ray review of The Descendants.

The 411 for The Descendants

The story Matt King is faced with several important issues — including his wife’s coma
Appropriateness for children There isn’t any nudity and very little violence. However, there is a lot of bad language in this film. Ironically, most of the profanity are from the two children in the movie.
Positives
  • Good story
  • Great acting
  • Wonderful soundtrack
Negative
  • Lots of profanity
Rating Rated R for language and sexual references
Runtime 115 minutes
Genre Drama, light comedy

The wife is in a coma
Matt King (George Clooney) is the main character in the story. He’s a lawyer, and very wealthy because of his inheritance. He’s also the sole trustee for the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries. Matt is forced to take care of his two daughters when his wife gets in a boating accident off of Waikiki. As if dealing with with his wife’s coma wasn’t enough, he learns from his oldest daughter that his wife has been having an affair. Sorry for the spoiler, but this revelation happens very early in the film. Plus it’s also in the movie trailer. The rest of the story is about how Matt deals with all these things going in his life. For instance, how is Matt suppose to deal with his wife’s unfaithfulness when he can’t even confront her? Or can he or should he forgive her? I thought the movie handle these issues really well.

What’s with the funny-looking running scene?
If you’ve seen the trailer for The Descendants, then you’ve probably seen the scene of George Clooney running kinda funny. I thought the film would explain the half-jogging/half-fast walking scene, but it didn’t. In the movie, Matt King takes off after he finds out his wife was having an affair. Instead of driving, he funny runs to his wife’s best friend’s house. Maybe the book explained it, but the movie didn’t. Right now, I’m wondering if that’s how people run when they’re jogging downhill in their sandals. Or maybe it was for comic effect?

It’s a light comedy
The Descendants is a drama, but it’s also humorous at times. I wasn’t expecting that. The humor made the drama lighter. Otherwise, this film could have turned into a depressing drama considering the subject matter. On a side note, according to a special feature, George Clooney is a really funny guy.

Clooney nominated for best actor
George Clooney (Matt King) was great in this film. I can see why Clooney was nominated for best actor. He was very believable as Matt King. Shailene Woodley (Alexandra King, oldest daughter) was also excellent even though she has a pretty big potty mouth. The film also features Amara Miller (Scottie King, youngest daughter), Nick Krause (Sid, a friend of Alexandra), Patricia Hastie (Elizabeth King, wife), Grace A. Cruz (Scottie’s teacher), Kim Gennaula (school counselor), Karen Kuioka Hironaga (Barb Higgins), Carmen Kaichi (Lani Higgins), Kaui Hart Hemmings (Matt’s secretary Noe), Beau Bridges (Hugh, Matt’s cousin), Matt Corboy (Ralph, cousin), Matt Esecson (Hal, cousin), Michael Ontkean (Milo, cousin), Stanton Johnston (Stan, cousin), Matthew Lillard (Brian Speer), and Judy Greer (Julie Speer). The Descendants was directed by Alexander Payne.

Special Features

  • Everybody Loves George
    In this 7+ minutes feature, everyone has great things to say about George Clooney. Apparently, he’s a funny guy between takes.

  • Working with Alexander
    The crew must have really loved the director because the crew gushed about Alexander Payne for about 13 minutes. That’s about six minutes longer than the gush piece about George Clooney. Does that mean the cast liked the director more than Clooney?

  • Hawaiian Style
    This 17-minute feature is about filming in Hawaii. It talks about some of the Hawaiian elements that were used in the movie — like the special blanket/quilt at the end of the film.

More info: The Descendants

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