The Descendants (2011)

I watched this the other day out of obligation: the Oscars are slowly approaching (which I am going home from college that weekend just to celebrate the occasion), there was slight conflict within my family about the movie, and I was simply curious.

I’ll say this once and won’t mention it again: George Clooney will always be Doug Ross to me. He’s the same in everything and despite his charm, no one can possibly argue me on that. But I don’t suppose the film wanted anyone different. Clooney‘s type casting character was ideal for this role, one that separated his emotions from the situation. This is either full of courage or cowardice, I’m not sure which.

I often associate my relationships with the characters with their relationships with one another. The family drama had very little visual emotion, so my reaction was no different.

I find that the argument here draws from what an audience is really looking for.

If you’re me, you look for that one character to pull for. There needs to be one person that reacts the same way you would, the same way so you can understand. Julie Speer, played by Judy Greer, was my favorite character because she was so caught in all this complicated emotion: her husband was cheating on her with a woman who is now a coma. Talk about conflicting emotions. She was frustrated, hurt, and stuck between hate and compassion. Finally, she is the first character in the whole movie to just scream about it. For me, it was kind of a nice release. I understood her emotion.

Other audiences pull for realism, another completely understood approach at watching a movie. Some viewers just like the characters to act as they would, by not lashing out every time things get tough. They put on a brave face to hold themselves together, which, now that I think of it, is just as honorable as lashing out all together.

I couldn’t see myself having any strong emotion about this movie. I couldn’t love a film that had this story line (though it is a plot that I have seen a thousand times before) and I couldn’t hate a film that was about a father rebuilding his relationship with his kids.

My favorite scene was the final one: with the slightly smaller family gathering together on a couch under one blanket, sharing ice cream. To me, this is was family is, and choosing to use this scene as the one to wrap it all up was the best decision they made.



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