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"The Descendants" movie review (no spoilers)

Updated on August 24, 2012

A lot of people hated this movie and didn’t agree with it being nominated for an Oscar. I loved it from the first shot and opening line until the last shot and the credits rolled; and I thought this movie deserved its Oscar nod far more than a lot of its counterparts.

What’s the one thing I can say about this film? It’s real. It gets down to the bare bones of stupidity, loyalty, greed and disrespect that are so candidly played out for us today in real life. I won’t give you anything that you won’t see in a general description for the film or a trailer, maybe even less.

George Clooney stars, but he’s not a sex symbol this time around--he’s a dad. A clueless father with good intentions. This is one movie that I saw where he wasn’t on top of things every step of the way and that was, in a word, refreshing. He could’ve been any hapless middle aged dad trying to navigate middle class life with 2 daughters and a wife he can’t begin to understand. He didn’t come off as a character in this film, but he played more of a person than I’ve ever seen him play. He wasn’t a hero, a man who knew what he was doing, knew exactly what to say with a beautiful woman on his arm; this movie was about him being an everyday guy with problems like everybody else. It’s rare when actors capture those roles so perfectly now and only a handful of the really good ones can actually do it without their performances coming off as contrived. Clooney succeeded in this area brilliantly.

Let’s get down to one of the main things that got people really riled up about this film: the language the daughters used around their father. Most of the people up in arms about this either live under a rock and don’t realize it’s their neighbors’ kids taking up this practice or they’re in denial about their own kids and the kids around them. Kids yell at their parents, throw things, disrespect them to no end. Please, watch a couple of episodes of Teen Mom--all that crap isn’t scripted. It all started when parents started encouraging their kids to say whatever they wanted to them and around them. They no longer get punished for anything. Their “punishments” are, “I’ll send you to a reform school!” (more than likely an empty threat) or, “Give me your ipod and your ipad! Now!” Wow, way to go parents of today. I’ve seen this with my own eyes. Kids do whatever they want now, especially compared to when I was growing up. Maybe not every single kid, but enough of them. If they want to drink, their parents tell them do it in the house. If they want to smoke, they either smoke with a parent or their parents go out and buy them a pack of cigarettes when they head out to the store. If they’re having sex, their parents buy them the condoms. A lot of parents have paved the way for their kids to disrespect them and others, this movie was just showcasing that particular part of life on the big screen, those particular families. What do I say about it? If it’s not happening to you, then get over it. You’re not going to change the families who are behaving this way by giving a bad review to this film. If it is you, then don’t be a hypocrite online when your kids are throwing pebbles and soda cans at you as you’re typing it.

This movie was about family, grief, love, and the boundaries that don’t exist between most western parents and their kids now. I loved it. I thought it was one of the most truthful films I’ve seen in a long time. I loved it because the over the top parts aren’t that over the top and the sappy parts weren’t that sappy but came off as natural. I loved this movie because its imperfections are what made it perfect.

Even though it has a couple of kids in it, this movie is NOT for kids. Trust me. There’s some language used, that I’ve mentioned, that I know some people with the filthiest mouths would hesitate before using. And if you can’t take a lot of swearing, this film definitely isn’t for you. But if you’re a fan of a good story, and this is a great story, I recommend this.


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