Matt King (George Clooney) is a lucky, lucky man. He is independently wealthy, runs a successful law practice, was born and raised in Hawaii, and has a fun-loving wife and a pair of daughters. Unfortunately, keeping himself busy with lawyering has led to a strained marriage and a self-described role of the "back-up parent" in his family, but nobody's perfect.
|He owns this land. Poor Matt!|
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding George Clooney's performance in The Descendants, and it is well-deserved. Clooney trades in his omnipresent charm and cool for some very believable awkwardness and grief.
|Pictured above: grief|
|Yeah, I've been on the receiving end of that glare before|
Alexander Payne made a lot of interesting choices when making The Descendants. Despite setting the film in Hawaii, there isn't as much time devoted to showing off the beautiful location as you might expect. I was also surprised that a two-time Sexiest Man Alive winner, Clooney, is never really shown as a dapper or typically sexy man in this film.
|Sexiest Man Wearing a T-Shirt on the Beach Winner|
My only problem with this film is the whole real estate subplot. It does tie into the larger and far more enveloping main story, but it just never seemed very important to me. As much as the film strives to make George Clooney into an average, over-his-head type of guy, the land deal just served to remind the audience that this is a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars and chose to be a workaholic absentee father to his children, and probably a sub-par husband to his wife. The ultimate resolution of that subplot does serve as a sort of gauge for determining his character's development and how his values have changed, but I wish that subplot had been scrapped in favor of more quiet moments of family unity.
|Simple, but effective. But who leaves their feet uncovered?|
The Descendants is still a very, very good movie that rings true on many levels. Clooney gives a great performance, the supporting cast was lovely, and Alexander Payne once again made a quiet and touching film that packs a few surprises.