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The Descendants: tears without soul in the palm trees

December 28, 2011

I went to see The Descendants, the George Clooney film. It’s this dirge with as ukulele and waves and palm trees. The film wasn’t bad, but I’d never see it again. Throughout it, we see his wife in a coma, his wife dying, and the scattering of ashes. The kids and George crying. And I kept thinking when a actor does an emotional scene to cry they think of a scene in their life and draw from it, so what they’re crying about isn’t the fact of someone dying in front of them in the scene, but a memory of either a lost dog, or something else in their life. Then I realize when I was crying as well as others in the theater, we weren’t crying for the character in the coma or the scattering of the ashes, we were crying for the past scenes in our lives where we lost someone.

I kept flashing to my Dad. His drains. The tubes dangling from him. His reflective eyes suddenly painted over as morphine drew down its circular shade. And my parents reduced to ashes. And then knowing I would be strung up in a hospital bed with drips and a blipping screen and a catheter.

So in a way it felt false, the film was exploiting those scenes, and the actor was imagining something else, and so were we, but neither us us were connected with the people on the screen.

It lacked soul.

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