Movie Review: The Descendants

Posted: December 4, 2011 in movie reviews, movies
Tags: , , , ,

The Descendants

Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard

Premise: Matt King must reconnect with his estranged daughters after their mother — his wife — is rendered comatose from a boating accident. Upon learning his wife would never wake again from the coma, Alex, his eldest daughter reveals to Matt, she had been having an affair on him.  This movie follows Matt’s journey with his kids as they go around finding friends and family to say goodbye to their mother and his wife, including the man she was having an affair with.

My Review: With any good movie, the most important thing is that you have to care about the characters, no matter how flawed they are. Good actors, good characters, good story. That’s all it takes. Sounds simple right? Not quite, this movie was anything but simple. It was filled with complicated feelings, intricate plot lines, and fantastically complex acting.

The thing about The Descendants that makes it so great is that it’s familiar. At one point or another we’ve all felt about family and life how Matt and his kids feel about family and life. We can relate. Though I’ve never dealt with a dying parent, or a parent that has cheated on another parent, we can all relate to feeling abandoned or betrayed or unloved. And the way the characters deal with the problems, by getting angry, or trying to rise above, or trying to understand by confronting the problem, it all feels real.

George Clooney was great. He played a different character then from how I’ve seen him. He wasn’t the charmer, he wasn’t the attractive mystery playboy man, he was a father, trying to get through the most difficult time in his life. This was a new George Clooney for me. I bought his performance entirely. But the actor that surprised me the most was Shailene Woodley. Best known for her work in Secret Life of the American Teenager, I thought this girl was a horrible actress. When the TV show first started out, I thought she was decent, but due to bad writing, poor plot points, and equally bad acting from her co-stars her acting seemed to get worse and worse. However, her acting in The Descendants was quite remarkable. Her make-up was toned down, her wardrobe was toned down, and all that was left was her performance. It was filled with all the teenage angst yet without the annoying, spoiled, immaturity that TV so desperately loves to bestow on young actors. Her character felt real. She was believable.

This movie is definitely worth checking out. Alexander Payne crafts an intricate and complicated movie, that though simple in concept, it’s extremely complex in execution. And if none of that appeals to you. See it for Clooney.

Rating:  3 1/2 to 4 Stars

  1. yaykisspurr says:

    I really dislike Clooney but sounds like he hit it out of the park on this one. Cheers…

  2. Did you like Up In The Air? The Descendants is definitely worth checking out and Clooney did a phenomenal job.

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