Monday, December 12, 2011

The Descendants

It's nice to finally be able to get back into a groove of seeing movies regularly. If you've noticed I've been MIA from the reviews for a few weeks. This is my second week in a row of seeing something at the theatre and I'm going to try my best to keep the streak alive. This week I decided that I've been neglecting the Indie films lately so I skipped New Year's Eve and the Sitter to go and check out the Descendants. I had my doubts going in to be honest. Director Alexander Payne is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I loved Election from 1999 with Reese Witherspoon but I disliked About Schmidt. Sideways was entertaining but overall it felt pretty forgettable. I didn't understand all of the accolades people were throwing at it at the time and it feels like that's what people are doing with the Descendants. But I have to say it's justified in this case. It's a really excellent film. Probably one of Payne's best.
Matt King (George Clooney), a local Land Baron and lawyer, has a lot on his plate. His wife has slipped into a coma after a boating accident and he has discovered that she was having an affair. He struggles to raise his two daughters, Scottie (Amara Miller) and Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) after the accident as they each struggle to cope with the situation. And just to make his life a little more frustrating he is tasked to oversee a land deal for his entire family. His family consists of what seem to be lazy folk who have squandered their inheritance and are now looking for the responsible Matt to make them all filthy rich by selling off their Family land that spans back to King Kamehameha.
The film is gorgeous and it's great to see the beautiful islands on the big screen. Especially when they go to Kauai, I remembered instantly why I loved the place. The film is well paced and the script is solid from beginning to end. Clooney is certainly deserving of an Oscar nod and I think he should have a good chance to win the big one this time. It's definitely one of his best performances to date. I also really enjoyed the two girls playing his daughters they were authentic and funny and the cast melded great together. It's also a great travelogue for Hawaii, they show some really great spots. It'll keep you warm through the winter months, a little mind fuck always does the trick. But I highly recommend this little film, so after the kids drag you to see crap like Alvin and the Chipmunks and New Year's Eve, treat yourself to one of the better films of the year and take a trip to Hawaii with the Descendants, you won't be disappointed.
Grade: 4 Buckets

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