The Descendants - DVD movie review

From May 26, 2013

Grade: A-
When I saw that this film was by Alexander Payne I thought, “That’s the guy that made ‘Dark City!’” That was not correct (Dark City was by Alex Proyas). Anywhoo, while watching this film I swore it was done by Wes Anderson, what with its dark, awkward humor.
The film is a very good dramedy, which sort of wigged my fiancee out (she wanted a straight comedy). 
Is it sad? Yes. 
Is it funny? Yes. 
It’s all about a family that is hit hard by an accident that puts the mother in a coma in the hospital. How will the husband, George Clooney, deal with raising his 10-year old daughter? And there’s also his 17-year-old daughter, a drug addict (as the film says, although there’s none of her actually doing that in the film. She gets drunk once.) Will the mother come out of her coma or won’t she? And what was she hiding from Clooney? Also, Clooney’s character is descended from a native Hawaiian and so his family owns a huge plot of land on one of the islands. Will they sell it? And to whom?
The acting is top-notch of course. The characters are interesting. The events are fun to watch unfold. I don’t know if there’s much in the way of “rewatchability”, though, as there was with Alexander Payne’s other film “Sideways”, which is a very enjoyable film to watch again and again. (No, I haven’t seen “About Schmidt” yet, so I can’t comment on that.) At any rate, I recommend seeing it.
By the way, in looking up Alexander Payne, I learned that before he started directing he was a screenwriter on some other films, one of which was “Jurassic Park III”. No joke.