I have to admit I was not overly excited when asked by a friend to see this George Clooney film. Firstly because it starred George Clooney. An actor whose fame and reputation has surpassed his acting to the point that no matter how good he is I can not get past the fact that I am watching George Clooney on the screen – preventing me from transcending into the character he is portraying.
Secondly from the previews it looked like just anther romantic comedy. Let me deal with the comedy. It did have some light-hearted humourous moments but not enough to label it a comedy. Whilst it was romantic but not in the regular Hollywood style of boy meets girl, boy falls for girl boy and girl have a series of mishaps before living together happily ever after.
It is a romance in as much as Clooney’s character proves his love for his dieing wife by putting the needs of other less deserving character above his own needs.
Faced with a series of stressful ethical decisions Clooney portrays the grieving husband with an unexpected subtleness and passion, that is both confronting and endearing for the audience. The main story line of preparing for a funeral has a number of twists that only brings further pain to the main characters.
The sub plot of native land-titles is much less interesting and a lot more predictable, merely a distraction for the audience.
The movie can seem slow, the closest thing to an action scene is the moments Clooney runs down the winding road from his Hawaiian home – no spoiler alert as it is included in the all of the previews. It is all about relationships, personal sacrifice and pride. The emotions of this story are often played out in long close-up sequences often without a word spoken.
Watch out for Shailene Woodley, who plays Clooneys character’s daughter. This could be the beginning of a long and celebrated career.