This is an interesting match-up because these are two movies that I was deeply moved by (okay fine, I bawled my damn eyes out) and are two movies that I wouldn’t particularly want to watch again because of how emotionally draining they are.
Dear Zachary surprised me because all I knew going into the film was that it was a documentary about a father who died and who’s best friend wanted to make a video for his son to learn about the father he’ll never meet. But gosh dang! This movie had one of the more surprising events where I can remember exactly where I was when my jaw dropped to the floor. I won’t ruin that moment for anyone, but it’s definitely one powerful aspect that Dear Zachary has over The Descendants.
Meanwhile, The Descendants is just an all-around good film. Led by an Oscar-nominate performance from George Clooney, he’s the heart and soul of the film as he tries to juggle the situations between his immediate family, his wife in a coma, and selling his ancestors’ land. It’s also the role that put Shailene Woodley on the map for bigger things to come. And it’s an Alexander Payne film, who I’m a big fan of.
While I liked both of these movies a lot, I’ll have to pick The Descendants as the winner of this Flickchart battle. Dear Zachary did seem a bit preachy towards the end, but overall was a very well-done documentary that presents plenty of questions while suggesting immediate change. It’s an important film. But in the sense of cinema, The Descendants stands out as one of the best family-dramas in the past few years. There are layers and layers of conflict that gives the film its pure richness.
Winner: The Descendants