I had been to Hawaii some 15 years ago – stayed at Maui and drove around. It is an amazing place for tourists, even for those from mainland U.S. Natural beauty dominates the islands and while maximum efforts have been taken to maintain the pristine beauty, it is difficult to sometimes distinguish the city areas from any U.S. city. Beautiful golf courses, miles of ocean front homes, blue seas, and volcanoes…….what can one ask for more of all these ?
The Descendants is a movie entirely shot in Hawaii and it is about Hawaii – huge tracts of land that was going to be sold to a property developer. It is a complex movie with several unfortunate occurrences impinging on our hero, George Clooney. Clooney has delivered an excellent performance as a father, a husband and a land trustee. There are no “outsiders” in this movie – all the actors are more or less from the same family, it appears – all cousins, brothers, grandpas, et al !
While the story is a bit sad with the wife on death bed, the two daughters giving much trouble, the land deal getting into some trouble, etc., the worst moment for the husband Clooney comes when his elder daughter reveals that his wife had been having an affair with someone. Wrong time, heard from the wrong person and not revealed by even the closest friends of Clooney – how disastrous ?
Clooney deals with all these stuff in somewhat of a non-emotional frame of mind, though occasionally he shows tinges of emotion. He does not show anger easily, though vulgarities abound all around him – from his own daughters. He has to deal with a difficult father-in-law who thinks he shortchanged his daughter, concentrating more on money than a peaceful life. It all appears to be too much, but Clooney deals with it all the same, sometimes in a nonchalant manner, having been used to the rantings and admonitions from his father-in-law for a long time, for example.
This is a good movie, with complexity in its story line, keeping the viewers in some kind of suspension as to how the director is going to end the movie. It has very nice Hawaiian music in the background, and good scenery. It has good actors, including the daughters who do well for their characters, though they could have used less number of expletives.
The eventual migration to maturity for the daughters after the death of their mother, and the integration with the father who had been not so involved with their lives till now, have been depicted rather well in the Western family context. I was trying to imagine the implications and repercussions of a similar scenario in the Indian context – my Bollywood imagination ran riot and the result was that the wife gets up from her death bed when Clooney mutters his good byes in one of the moving moments of the movie ! Well, there will surely be songs running around the trees and the beaches in a similar Bollywood movie – that’s absolutely sure ! The first daughter’s emotional maturity towards accepting her father as the eventual solace in her life all the more so when she had previously been devastated by her mom’s unfaithful conduct, has been guided well by the director, Alexander Payne.
Overall, a good movie not to be missed.
23rd June 2012