Movie Review: The Descendants

Details from IMDB:

The Descendants Poster

R  115 min  -  Comedy | Drama   -  9 December 2011 (USA)

Ratings: 7.6/10 from 38,005 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 243 user | 346 critic | 43 from Metacritic.com

A land baron tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

Initial Thoughts:

As with Denzel I love George Clooney, he’s that good that I will see any movie just because he’s in (though he has done some stinkers in the past but I forgive him Smile). I had heard this movie was nominated for several Oscars. With the awards being tonight I finally watched this movie Saturday night, I was not disappointed.

Main Points:

I should say right away that George does a fantastic job. While I haven’t seen most of the Oscar nominated movies (there are so many of them now!) I dearly hope George wins best actor. Also I need to say this overall a very sad movie, if you’re experiencing or have recently experienced hardship in your life, I would suggest not watching this for a while.

So George plays a lawyer (Matt King) whose wife was badly injured in a boating accident. He has been caring for his daughters (with a great deal of difficulty) for about 3 weeks and trying to maintain his law firm. To make his life more complicated he is the trustee over a huge amount of land on a Hawaiian island that is worth almost a billion dollars, with only 7 years left before the government can take this land he and many relatives want to make a deal and sell it before it is too late.

As if all this wasn’t enough he also finds out that his wife, who is now in a coma, cheated on him with a man he never met.

SPOILER ALERT!

It seems like a strange thing to do for this movie but I follow my formula Smile So you find out in the first 10 minutes of the movie that Matt’s wife will never wake up and because she has a strict living will he must soon disconnect her from the machines that are keeping her alive.

This means that Matt must tell all of her friends and family members (there are a ton of them) the news so that they can say their good-byes. He also feels compelled to track down Brian Speer (the wife’s lover) so that can confront him and tell him of Patricia’s condition. 

George displays such a wide variety of emotions (and acts them out brilliantly) in this film that you have to love his character. He is under a tremendous amount of pressure but he manages it all very well.

Despite the very serious story there a number of funny/light-hearted moments and the quest for Brian Speer makes a very entertaining distraction from his wife’s slow and painful death.

When the confrontation with Matt and Brian finally comes it is a great scene where he get’s some satisfaction by clearing surprising and terrifying him but yet still takes the high road and does not tell Brian’s wife and wreck his family life.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

All the performances in this film are top notch and it is moving. My only complaint is the first half-hour to 45 minutes is very depressing and hard to watch, the movie really pulls at your heart strings.

I thought the ending was perfect. Matt decides that the land means too much to him to sell it and will let the other relatives come after him. I hate government inferring in people’s lives and I would have done the same thing. It shows Matt has a very strong character as he realizes that the money means nothing to him, it’s the past and future memories with his family that counts.Open-mouthed smile

The actual ending shows Matt and his two daughters spreading Patricia’s ashes into the sea near the family’s land. It is a beautiful and touching scene, very moving. During the credits we see Matt sitting on the couch with his daughters, eating ice cream and watching March of the Penguins. You’re just left with the feeling that Matt and his family will be fine as long as they have each other. A very strong 8/10 from me, if you can handle a tear-jerker I would highly recommend this.Thumbs up

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2 Comments

  1. Wow, Charles, that sounds like a great but hard movie to watch. Like you, I really like George Clooney, not because he is nice to look at and has such an alluring voice, but because he has a charisma that is hard to ignore. Not all actors can match that. Sometimes I think he makes very poor choices in projects, but perhaps he chooses them because they are difficult or experimental and not the usual Hollywood fare everyone expects. You have to respect him for that, although he does his career no favors (especially with Dusk til Dawn).

    You are right, Denzel Washington is that same kind of actor, even when he plays a villain. Another is Sean Connery, with such a *presence*.

  2. Hi Pat 🙂 It was excellent, I really hope it wins best picture (or at least best actor for George). I’ve seen George in worse, have you ever seen the horrible Batman & Robin movie he did? It is a TRAIN WRECK! Even George admitted he never should have done it. I agree he takes chances but usually they pay off. I haven’t seen Sean Connery in a good movie in a long time, he is a great actor though and I agree he has a presence. Lenodaro DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr. are some of the other favourite actors. Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you enjoyed my review 🙂


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