Just got back from catching The Descendants, I’ve been wanting to see it for a while and was wondering what all that Oscar buzz was about…and let’s just say I’m still wondering. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty solid movie with good acting and a good story, but that’s what it was. Oscar’s are for outstanding movies and outstanding performances from actors/actresses and I didn’t see either of those in Alexander Payne’s latest film.
The story is one of lawyer Matt King (George Clooney) and two major life events of his. One, his wife in is in a serious and possibly fatal boating accident, and two, his family’s trust fund is nearing it’s expiration and he needs to negotiate a real estate sale worth upwards of $500 million. Those are two pretty stressful events that are thrown upon Matt King and to make matters worse, he has no relationship with his two daughters…who naturally are a bit of a pain in the ass at the beginning. The two daughters, Alex and Scottie, played by Shailene Woodey and Amara Miller, were both very strong in their respective roles. All in all the acting was very strong, even by the movies only goofball Sid (played by Nick Krause), who I thought was going to suck but turned out to be a bright point in the film.
The big news gets dropped on Matt King by his daughter Alex, when she says that his wife had been cheating on him in the weeks/months leading up to her accident. This obviously makes the situation a bit hairy, so Matt goes on a mini quest to find the man who had been with his wife. This turned out to be a weird surprise for me being that the man was played by Matthew Lillard, yep the dork who played Shaggy from those awful/awesome Scooby-Doo movies. What girl in her right mind is leaving George Clooney for Matthew Lillard? Right!?
I won’t give anymore plot points to the movie but it ends up being pretty sad. There were various woman throughout the theater who I could hear tears and whimpers from. The only reason I didn’t get very emotional was because the person who was dying was somebody who you never met, heard speak or grew any sort of attachment for. Hard for you to really get upset by her condition when all you saw the entire movie was a vegetable in a bed. Yes, the family and their situation was brutal and sad and devastating at times, but it would have been even more emotional of a film had you been introduced to Matt’s wife Elizabeth.
The movie was a lot of George Clooney being George Clooney, with his charming, witty style…which can be a good thing or a repetitive style you have grown tired of over recent years. Either way the movie kept me interested until the end and you really felt for the King family at the end of the film. If you are debating seeing this, I’d say go for it. It was a well acted, emotional ride that you won’t feel bad about spending $10 to see. That being said:
The Descendants: 7/10