"People who don't live in Hawaii think Hawaiian life is perfect; nothing but surfing, relaxing, and happiness ... while the life of an islander is just as stressful, the cancers are just as deadly, and life is as complex and frustrating as anywhere else. People think Hawaii is paradise. Paradise? Paradise can go f--k itself."
And with that to-the-point opening monologue starts another Alexander Payne melodrama, similar to (and almost as powerful as) About Schmidt, where a flawed hero discovers the heartbreaking/infuriating extramarital affair of his dead/dying spouse too late, and struggles with the ambivalence that comes along with it. Payne's slow rhythm is anything but boring, as we're constantly dealt the most extreme of human emotions - so have some napkins handy. While Clooney's Oscar nomination won't be surprising, I'm eager to see how the Academy rewards Woodley's breakthrough performance as the teenage daughter.