George Clooney keeps getting better and better. I wrote that for an Ides of March review. Now I double triple my claim for The Descendants. Wow. The previews are deceiving. This looks like a comedy. The film has funny moments, but it is a serious look at family, life, connecting, tragedy, and Hawaii.
First - the scenery is gorgeous and Clooney's family in this film owns a nice slice of heaven. However, the land is in trust and cousins want to profit. Thus there's a huge vote coming up for whether to sell the land and to whom. Clooney's Matt Price has the final say. He's a lawyer and the key trustee - a lot of responsibility to his heritage and the descendants.
Second - Clooney's wife is hospitalized for a coma. She was in a boating accident and the prognosis isn't good. Clooney's dealing with his ten year old daughter, Scottie, and a teen daughter, Alex. She's been at boarding school due to drugs/drink/mischief. This father's got his hands full and has not been dialed in for years. Obviously, since Alex informs him her mother has been cheating on him. He's bewildered, shocked, sad, and then realizes he'd been out of touch all along.
The Descendants has everyone questioning their relationships, loves, and priorities. Directed by Alexander Payne, the film's subtle humor and sly viewpoints prove successful. Oscar buzz galore - Clooney is superb and Shailene W. (Alex) is intense with her unwavering, unforgiving teen stare.
Hawaii is a wonderful backdrop, but even paradise has its troubles. Aloha to an excellent film.
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