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The Descendants Review, or How to Give a Heavy Topic a Light Treatment


The whole film can actually be summarized by analyzing just one character in the story. And it's this character:

"Woah, dude."

That's actor Nick Krause, who plays Sid, the boyfriend of George Clooney's daughter Alexandra. That's his role. But what is his purpose?

His purpose is simply as a tension-diffuser. Because of the tragic turn of family events, the King family needs to talk to the rest of their relatives. Alex, however, hates those kinds of things. So she takes Sid along, because in her own words, "I'll be a lot more civil with him around." So Sid's purpose is to diffuse the tension, and to act as comic relief, both of which he does pretty well.

The girl on the left is my new Hollywood crush, Shailene Woodley.

And that is the same thing that Alexander Payne does with the film. The story is actually pretty heavy, involving boating accidents, comatose patients, and cheating wives. But director Alexander Payne masterfully balances all this by giving the film a humorous treatment. You won't quite appreciate how good a director Payne is until you realize that the film probably wouldn't work as well if its treatment was as heavy as its story.

The Descendants. USA. 2011.

Rating: Eight out of ten.
Scene where Sid gets punched in the face for laughing at the old woman with Alzheimer's: Nine and a half out of ten.
Shailene Woodley: Nine out of ten.


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