As is the case with most Hawaii International Film Festivals, there are always several movies that showcase Hawaii and use either Hawaii actors, Hawaii locations, or both. However this year’s HIFF closed out its festivities with a movie that not only features Hawaii, but also features one of the biggest stars on the planet.
The Descendants – a movie that was filmed on Oahu, stars George Clooney as a struggling father who finds out his wife had been cheating on him after she falls into a coma. The film features local actors and music, and is based on a novel by local author Kaui Hart Hemmings.
This was the absolute perfect choice of movies to close out the 2012 version of HIFF, as the movie showcases so many things in Hawaii, while at the same time showcasing a huge international star.
“The view from the mainland is that we live in paradise,” the voice-over tells us, but the images contradict that narrative. And thus begin at least two strands that run through the film: Oahu as perceived from the mainland and from on-island.
The boating ends badly, as Elizabeth (local actor Patricia Hastie) suffers a head injury and falls into a coma.
Three weeks later we find Matt King (Clooney) trying unsuccessfully to reconnect with and take care of his two daughters in his wife’s absence. He is an attorney who with his cousins inherited vast acres of untrammeled land in Hawaii from ancestors both royal and missionary. When the cousins meet in King’s law offices to discuss whether to sell the land, the shot out of the window is iconic: Iolani Palace and the state Capitol.
The movie I is a crowd pleaser, and will be released nation wide on November 18th. If you have the chance, The Descendants is definitely worth the price of admission.
The 2012 HIFF was a success, and next year’s slate is already shaping up to be excellent.