Daily Archives: January 31, 2012

The Descendants (the movie)

Clueless nincompoop feels very cool: George Clooney in "The Descendants"

If you want to go and see a stupid movie, I suggest “The Descendants”, which is to say I suggest you don’t.

The Descendants is the pathetic attempt of idiotic failures – you can be a failure in life, big time, even if you are a hollywood screenwriter, producer, or whatever; ask them…- to try to persuade themselves that their being cretins unable to do or think anything in the right way be, in some way, cool or at least vaguely claiming for your sympathy.

The protagonist is a chap telling you that Hawaii people’s lives and families are as screwed as everywhere else, and one would be tempted to remind him of the many, many families and lives who are not screwed because they have, erm, values and rules and do not consider it very cool to be a failed father and/or husband.

Not Clooney, of course. His character tells you of his drinking (and unfaithful) wife as if he was telling you the cat is getting old, and of his teenager daughter with her drugs and her “older man” as if there was no connection between the sluttishness of the two generations of women in his household, and as if drugs were introduced into a family by the stork.

This world is absolutely value-free and, most importantly, it is completely religion-free. Again, there’s not the slightest hint in the entire movie that an absolutely screwed up family like the one depicted might be in some way connected with the total atheism reigning within it. This atheism is so pronounced, so absolutely shouted that religion does not have the minimum space in the entire “work”, not even to criticise it. It is as if religion – every religion, not only the Christian one – had never existed, and no one knew what it is.

Which is strange, because the movie is entirely centred on the fact that this family is, undoubtedly, screwed, and screwed exactly in the way Christian families – or families with Christian values – consider things will go if no solid values and no faith in God are cultivated. Wifey drinks and sleeps around, daughter makes pretty much the same but she takes drugs too, the other little daughter shows strange signs of disturbed behaviour, but one knows there’s hope…..

In the middle of this domestic disaster is this cuckolded idiot, wondering out loud what will happen of his family members without ever giving any sign of understanding that the sins of the fathers are visited upon their children; that grown spoiled brats are the result of spineless parents, whoring wifes produce whoring daughters, and all of that is produced by the absence of family values and sense of decency.

In the end, though, the woman really dies, and never did I care less to write a spoiler. But she dies, so to speak, slowly and not without giving all the members of the family ample room for reflection. At thi spoint I thought – in my naive optimism – that the movie would then turn in the right direction and after describing the moral meltdown born out of complete laissez-faire morality would show the way to get out of the mess this very absence of morality has created.

I was wrong. In one of the last scenes – the last one by which I was awake, at least – the cremated rests of the deceased, self-centred drinking slut – because this is what she would be considered in every halfway decent Christian society, before Niceness took hold –  are thoughtfully dispersed in the sea by the three surviving family members, equipped with hawaiian garland because… no one knows exactly. Not one word of hope, not one word of even soppy and stupid new age sentimentalism. Mom kicked the bucket, let’s kick her ashes out of the bucket; but let’s do it in a way which lets us feel vaguely cool and sensitive and oh so, so wannabe profound.

In the end, what remains of this movie is the message that these people have absolutely no clue, but this is absolutely fine so, because they seem to be in very good company and because they suspect, like seventeen years old, that there be something cool in being screwed. Only, half of the characters aren’t seventeen anymore, anagraphically at least.

Unless you have a monthly card (Ha! Do you think I pay the full ticket price for such things?) I suggest you don’t waste your money for this. We live in a fallen world and I understand movies cannot all be works of Catholic apologetics and will to an extent reflect the world we live in.

But this here is a provocation.


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