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Is ‘The Descendants’ the Best Good Movie of 2011?

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The Descendants was released on DVD and Blu-ray last week, which allows the few people who didn’t see it in theaters to experience what can only be describes as "the best good movie of 2011."

The George Clooney-starring movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Actor. Eighty-nine percent of critics liked the movie, according to Rotten Tomatoes. The movie also has made $168 million worldwide against a $20-million budget, more than the box office gross of half of the other Best Picture nominees combined.

But did anyone love this movie?

The Descendants is a very good movie. Superbly acted, well directed, funny and simultaneously emotional, the drama has a great blend of humor and seriousness and tells a very real, relatable story. But I didn’t love the movie. I liked it, a lot, but I didn’t walk away from the movie thinking "this is a movie that deserves to win Best Picture."

I’m not alone.

In fact, I haven’t heard a single one of my friends or family members say The Descendants was a great movie. While one said that the movie was utterly depressing (which contradicts by assertion that it’s consistently funny), most have admitted that it’s a very good movie, but not a great movie. For whatever reason, it doesn’t resonate with audiences in the way they expect Best Picture nominees to resonate.

For that reason, The Descendants is the best good movie of 2011. It isn’t great, but it is good, and everyone agrees. There were movies I loved more last year – there were movies that everyone loved more last year – but that doesn’t diminish what it is.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Comedies, Drama Movies, DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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  • The One Coz

    I agree it is a good not great movie and I would not even call it the best ‘good’ movie of 2011.  I might pick ‘Midnight In Paris’ as my favorite critical darling best ‘good’ movie of 2011.  ‘Midnight In Paris’ was very well written, quirky and enjoyable but I would not consider it a great movie.  As for Clooney in ‘The Descendents’ I also thought his acting in ‘Up in the Air’ was just as good if not better than in this movie.  Just because it was a difficult topic does not automatically mean he did a great job.  I felt he lacked some emotion in many scenes in this very demanding role.

  • eriksamdahl

    I agree with you on Midnight in Paris, though I’d say The Descendants was better.

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