George Clooney shows up for Oscar season more reliably than Elmer Fudd
shows up for the first day of Rabbit Season (or maybe that's Duck
Season), so get ready for The Descendants.
Clooney stars as Matt - a Hawaiian husband struggling with two of the
biggest challenges of his life.
After a boating accident, his wife is in a coma, and her prognosis is
Additionally, Matt starts to act as the primary parent to his two
daughters, a role he is not familiar with, as he begins to notify
everyone close to his wife that they need to prepare to say goodbye.
However, his teen daughter, Alex (Shailene Woodley), drops a bombshell.
Mom was cheating on Matt.
Can Matt go on and complete his final duties as a husband in light of
Will Matt find the man his wife was fooling around with?
The Descendants is a wonderful movie because
of Clooney, Woodley, and the amazing scenario director/co-writer
Alexander Payne is able to exploit.
Clooney has proven time and time again he expertly is capable of being
more than a handsome leading man. In The Descendants, he
magnificently balances comedy and tragedy in all of the right ways,
including some subtle moments you want to see again and again.
Just watch him change Matt's mood from sullen as he gets verbally
abused to a glimmer of pride as his daughter defends him in ways he
never thought possible. While some might be surprised to find some
comedy in a movie about a woman in a coma, Clooney helps us accept and
embrace it with his reactions to silliness around him, giving the
audience permission to laugh. However, the serious, dramatic moments
are not lost among the giggles.
Then, Woodley shows a maturity and poise far beyond what you expect
from a teenage young lady. She has great chemistry with Clooney as the
two become a dynamic duo making us laugh, cry, and guiding us along
some shocking twists and turns. Most of all, Woodley brings a soul and
vulnerability that is shocking.
Overall, I just like the idea and premise. Based on the novel by Kaui
Hart Hemmings, Payne and his co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash,
intellectually and emotionally stimulate us. We all see Hawaii as some
tropical paradise where everything is wonderful and luaus are held
every night, but this is a reminder that real people have real problems
no matter where they live (even if they look like George Clooney?).
Then, the audience is asked to answer the ultimate, most effective
question you can ask an audience - What would you do in this situation?
As we follow Matt on his journey, we get to think about it, too. It's a
cauldron of conflicting theories and feelings.
The Descendants gets a bit off track towards
the end, but it's one you need to see.
The Descendants is rated R for language
including some sexual references.