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HIFF Key Art Cat’s out of the bag: THE DESCENDANTS is our Closing Film 2011. The much-anticipated Payne/Clooney project based off the book by local author Kaui Hart Hemmings is going to be a guarantee sell-out. As a ~*Native Hawaiian~*~ who went to Kamehameha and sucks at math, just trust me on these things, ‘kay?

Here’s a recent review out of Variety…


Some highlights from the article:

Woodley, best known for her work on ABC Family’s soapy “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” is a revelation in the role of Alex, displaying both the edge and depth the role demands.

…never descends to griefsploitation…carefully [selecting] moments that reveal the characters’ ever-changing emotions without wallowing in their pain. …There’s also an unexpected amount of humor to be found in the circumstances immediately surrounding a loved one’s death, and [Payne] embraces both contradictions with due respect.

“The Descendants” is one of those satisfying, emotionally rich films that works on multiple levels. Some will call their travel agents to book Hawaiian vacations as soon as they dry their eyes (just as “Sideways” boosted wine-tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley), while more cynical auds should find layers to engage their sensibilities as well. Of particular interest is the way Payne allows class and race to supply an interesting, albeit subtle, subtext.

That last sentence is particularly intriguing. As it takes place in Hawai‘i, was shot in Hawai‘i, and is soon to screen in Hawai‘i, guarantee our HIFF audiences will be especially heightened to reading into its narrative, which is always exciting for any film.

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