How Accurate was the Film, The Descendants? A Movie Review

George Clooney stars as Matt King in The Descendants.
George Clooney stars as Matt King in The Descendants. | Source

There are many movies that are set in Hawaii--50 First Dates, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Lilo and Stitch --but none of them accurately depict the Hawaiian lifestyle. The Descendants , however, is one that realistically portrays modern Hawaii in a way that is refreshing to a local like myself.

This movie is based on a novel with the same title by Kaui Hart Hemmings, who grew up on Oahu, the most populated island and home of our state capital, Honolulu. The film stars George Clooney and has other stars such as Rob Heubel (Human Giant ) and Matthew Lillard (Scooby Doo ). Kaui Hart Hemmings also makes a cameo appearance as Matt King's (George Clooney) secretary.

You may be asking, what makes this movie so great? Well, this dark comedy not only accurately depicts the local Hawaiian's lifestyle, but also is a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking film with a solid story arch. Matt's wife, Elizabeth, is in a coma after getting into a motorboat accident. While she is in the hospital, Matt finds out that she wasn't as perfect as he thought she was. The plot thickens as he struggles with the difficult decision to either sell or keep the last bit of Native Hawaiian land on Kauai.

The Descendants Trailer

Not only is the acting superb, but the cinematography is precise, stimulating and beautifully edited. The gorgeous scenes of Hawaii contrasted with the somber story make this film unique. It is common to paint a dark or unpleasant picture of the setting when a plot is also somber, but in this film, the sunny and green Hawaiian landscape makes the viewer hopeful and keeps us stimulated without succumbing to cliché.

What I liked most about this film is the plot. The multiple story lines allow the viewer to almost forget about the other issues that Matt and the rest of the King family have to deal with. But these plot lines evolve and interweave like a spider's web.

The accurate Hawaiian history in this film is refreshing. Unlike other films that seem to give a tourist's view of the islands, this film illustrates a real Hawaiian family that has human problems that are relatable to people across the nation.

Overall, this film is a must-see. If you're prone to shed tears during a sad film, however, make sure you bring some tissue as this one definitely pulls at the heartstrings. I cannot wait to get my hands on the book; I hear it's just as good as the film.

The clip above illustrates the dark comedy used within this film. George Clooney is seen running to his friends' house to ask, "Who is he?"

Above is a scene from the film where Matt's daughter talks to him about the situation.

The clip above shows one of the funniest character interactions. Sid and Matt are complete opposites. Sid is one of the best characters because he brings comic relief to such a sad film.

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Comments 12 comments

JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

Sounds like a cool film.

JT


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

I really liked this film. I gave it a good review, too. Clooney's best work since "Up in the Air".

Rob


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

You should see it, JT.

Rob, Yeah, this movie was great. Thanks for reading.


Sneha Sunny profile image

Sneha Sunny 5 years ago from India

I'm planning to watch this movie. Some very interesting movies are going to be released in 2012. I should start making list of them to watch!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Sneha, this is a great film. It's already in theaters if you want to see it before 2012. Let me know what you think of it!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

This sounds like a really interesting movie. I will have to put it on my list.


damselfly21 profile image

damselfly21 5 years ago

well written review


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Thank you, damselfly.

Homestead, you should definitely see it!


gree0786 profile image

gree0786 5 years ago from United States

I can't wait to watch the movie!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

It was really good, gree0786. You should see it soon.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 5 years ago from Taos, NM

I saw the film yesterday and I loved it! I hope Clooney gets an Oscar for his performance - I think it is incredible! I also wrote a review of this film on hubpages. You might want to read it also.

You make a great point about the film portraying Hawaii as it is to a native living there. Not the "paradise" we associate with this islands state. That is a good point coming from someone living on the islands. I live in Naples, FL and can relate - although, I'm still in the "paradise" phase of living here. I'm told by those who have been here longer than me that this is a phase that passes eventually. Se la vie!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Suzette, Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your thoughts after seeing the film. I loved that it showed our beautiful landscape, but also dealt with real, human issues that still exist despite our gorgeous surroundings. Thanks again! -Brittany

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