Thoughts: Descended!

George Clooney …take a bow.

The Descendants is a beautifully scripted movie about how a father learns to deal NOT being the back-up parent coupled with about half billion dollars in the mix and how he needs to balance his personal and professional life whilst trying to gain his daughters’ love and trust.

Matt King (George Clooney) is the trustee of his extended family’s trust of thousands of acres of untouched land on the island of Kaua’i, Hawaii and with a deadline approaching when the trust fund runs out, he needs to know what to do with the land. Being the one in-charge of the entire land he solely must make (with of course the pressure from his ‘family’ and their two bits of vested interest in it) the final decision. If that wasn’t enough, King’s wife Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie, who for her role can’t really be judged upon her acting) suffers a boating accident and ends up in a coma. Due to this unfortunate event, King who usually was the ‘back up’ parent ends up taking care of his two daughters, the elder Alexandra (played by the beautiful and very talented Shailene Woodley, who really is all set to go places if this performance is anything to go by) and the younger Scottie (Amara Miller who also does a decent job in her role).

To add more trouble to Matt’s life, he finds out that his currently comatose wife also was cheating on him with a local real estate tycoon Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard). His plight on many fronts, from his children, his wife, his relatives and having to make tough decisions that will affect the lives of his kindred all placed upon his shoulders, King must somehow find the stability his life earlier had. How he does manage all that is what makes this movie a beautiful watch.

The movie sells on three main aspects. One, the location…on the scenic beaches of Hawaii which are synonymous with sand and surf and margaritas on beach beds is where the completely opposite is what goes on in Matt King’s life. The irony is so beautiful it is heartbreaking. Secondly, the father-daughter equation between Matt and Alex is heart-warming. It’s real and touching and something the entire audience can connect with. And finally George Clooney himself; showcasing the variety of emotions from vulnerable to strong to confused, from deceived to decisive and from anguished to angry to content, Clooney steals the show with his performance. He is so effective in this role that you can sincerely feel what he goes through sitting in his shoes.

Alexander Payne (Director) who is best known for his Oscar winning movie Sideways (2004) and the highly acclaimed Election(1999) has pretty much kept in line with his usual aura around movies of having the lead being “lost” but “honest”. Payne and Clooney are by far the two people who probably might win the Oscar for their efforts but a special mention must also go to Woodley for her great performance.

The movie isn’t something that would make you reach for the tissues after every scene, because life isn’t something that makes you cry that much. It’s about a man grieving whilst trying to take care of his daughters, trying to deal with being deceived and how to handle that and also carrying the expectations of his entire family on his shoulders….all at the same time. This is where it connects with most of us, who also go through a variety of emotions and expectations, from ourselves and from others each day of our life and we carry on trying.

A definite must watch this year and preferably before the Oscars start!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Beautiful movie! Absolutely in double love with Clooney…


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