The Discoverers is a nice little movie about broken family relationships and the will to repair them. Lewis (played by Griffin Dunne) is a history teacher and father of two teenagers. He’s forced to spend time with his dad after his wife died and he went mute from shock and repressed feelings, turning to the one thing he loves most in the world: Dressing up like Captain Clark and going on a reenactment trek with the rest of his weirdo friends.
Lewis and his dad have a strained relationship to say the least, but nevertheless Lewis doesn’t feel comfortable leaving him to deal with the death of his wife alone. So even though he hasn’t spoken to his family in years, he decides to haul his kids away from their ‘family vacation’, which really meant taking them to Oregon so he could attend a history conference where he hoped he could sell the book he has been working on his entire life.
But that doesn’t pan out, so now he is forced to reconnect with his estranged father and along the way, forges a new relationship with his kids–all in the midst of nature, where they hunt for their own food and there are no modern toilets available.
The Discoverers is both dramatic and comic, and the best dialogue comes from Zoe, Lewis’s 15-year old daughter (played by Madeleine Martin), a quick-witted and outspoken girl with a dry sense of humor and a knack for pissing her grandfather off. In the end nothing happens as Lewis expects it to, but maybe that’s for the best. I wish we could’ve seen and heard more from Jack, Lewis’s pothead and artistic son (played by Devon Graye), instead of having him relayed to the background of events from the middle of the movie onward. Other than that, The Discoverers is a worthwhile film.