I watched this gem a while back but re-lived it with my sis recently. I love how the characters are portrayed in a wonderfully real, down-to-earth way, especially Matt King and his daughter Alexandra. Matt is emotionally estranged from his wife and trying to reconnect with her as she lies comatose in hospital. His love for her is a remnant of the bond they once shared, yet he hates her for what she’s done to him (having an affair). The way he lashes out at her and her lack of response is terribly heartbreaking. She’s not able to defend herself, to justify her actions, or to somehow mitigate the anger and hurt he feels, which only heightens his frustration.
Alexandra, too, has to struggle with her conflicted feelings about her mum. They argued over her affair, yes, and her own teenage angst probably came into it as well. But as she stands with her dad and younger sister on a hill, gazing at their own spot of untouched Hawaiian paradise, she recalls with a touch of fondness how she and her mum used to camp there by the beach. It’s these quiet, subtly moving moments that form the heartbeat of the film. The lush natural landscape of Hawaii with its calming blues and greens serves as a perfect palette.
Finally, the ending shot in which Matt and his two daughters snuggle together on the couch watching TV, is extraordinary in its simplicity and sense of comfort. As a new family, they are still learning to cope, but it’s a good start.