2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Thoughtful entertaining movie about family,
This review is from: The Descendants (DVD + Digital Copy) (DVD)The Descendants is a movie about family and how our relationship with family members profoundly affects our lives.
George Clooney plays Matt King. He is a lawyer from Hawaii whose wife is in a coma following a boating accident. He now has to deal with his two daughters, aged 10 and 17. This task had previously been left mainly to his wife.
The movie is a series of scenes showing King dealing with this situation. He is a low-key kind of person and he is struggling to cope. It becomes even more complicated when he finds out that his wife was having an affair for a while before her accident and that she will not regain consciousness. There is also a subplot as Matt is in charge of a family trust about to make a multi-million dollar decision about the sale of prime local real estate.
Some scenes are really effective, such as when King rants at his wife about her affair, as she lies comatose in the bed. There are some great scenes with his father-in-law, played by Robert Forster, who worshipped the ground his daughter walked on and blames Matt for the situation she is in.
Matt's eldest daughter, brilliantly played by Shailene Woodley, tries to help her father as best she can after he decides to find out about the man his wife was having an affair with.
For the most part, Clooney's acting is effectively low-key. There are a couple of his scenes that are played mostly for comic effect (for trailer purposes perhaps) but in general he does well in the part of the decent guy, trying to make the best of the situation he finds himself in.
Director Alexander Payne does another good job in familiar territory, again examining the foibles of white middle class Americans, as he did in About Schmidt and Sideways. I enjoyed those movies also, though maybe he should try to look at different parts of society in future projects.