My husband didn’t want to see The Descendants last weekend. “I’ve heard it’s depressing,” he said. The topic, a family’s preparation for a mother/wife’s death isn’t a happy story, for sure, but the plot didn’t depress me.
What did make me sad, however, was the dysfunctional family, the over-the-top profanity from almost every single character, and the omission of any kind of religious reference in the story.
While well-meaning friends tried to encourage Matt King with “She’s going to be fine;” or “She’s strong; she’ll pull through,” no one offered anything close to real hope in the situation. Not one character said, “I’m praying for you.” That line, with its failure to mention what the friend might be praying for or to whom the friend might be praying, is almost as devoid of meaning as “Have a nice day.” Yet, the writers didn’t see a need to include it in the dialog.
Another omission was the absence of any pastor, priest, or rabbi lurking in the background of the hospital scenes. Didn’t having a religious character sitting with the family—even if he never said a word on camera—used to be a given? Apparently, not any more.
One saving grace was the setting—Hawaii. The writers excluded God in the dialog and character line-up, but God still showed up in the movie despite efforts to keep Him out. Every time the camera panned the lush greenery, the multi-colored flowers, or the myriad blues of the ocean, His creation displayed His creative handiwork. Psalm 19:1 reminds us of that truth, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”
The Descendants is an interesting, thought-provoking, well-acted movie. Too bad it couldn’t have been more.