In his award winning role, George Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer, a husband, and a father, who has always provided for his wife and children but until now, has never really been present. Whilst being forced to make a big decision on behalf of his extended family, regarding the biggest property deal in Hawaiian history, his wife is involved in a boating accident, which leaves her in a coma. It becomes solely up to him to help his children deal with this tragedy and at the same time deal with the secret his wife has been keeping from him.
We all know that Clooney can do suave, cool, and sophisticated, but, can he be the everyday man? The answer is yes, and not only can he do it, he can do it well. Clooney shows how versatile an actor he is in this film. He is exceptional in giving this very understated but moving performance. His performance has already been recognized at the Golden Globes, where he won for Best Actor, and he has also been nominated for an Academy Award (which many are tipping will be his too).
Clooney’s is not the only performance to be commended though. Shailene Woodley gives a feisty, yet tender, performance as Clooney’s rebellious older daughter. She is not intimidated by Clooney at all. Woodley is definitely going to be an actress to watch in the coming years
The Descendants deals with very tragic moments, and in the hands of any other director this could have turned into a big Hollywood “sop” fest. However, Sideways director Alexander Payne has avoided the temptation to go all Hollywood dramatic on us, he instead has made this film feel like an everyday occurrence. Payne usually blends tragedy and comedy quite well and he has done so again here.
The only complaint I would have about this film is that at 111 minutes it is about 20 minutes too long. Also, I am not sure if this everyday story would have worked without an actor of Clooney’s ability and popularity.
That said, The Descendants is an entertaining film. You don’t have to be a parent to connect with it. The Descendants deals with universal family/relationship issues that everyone can relate to. The Descendants is moving, thought provoking and wonderful – you will definitely need tissues!
The Descendants is in Irish cinemas now