What would you do if you discover that your wife had been cheating on you – just when she was lying in a coma? You have two strong-willed young daughters, and you are managing the sale of a large piece of land that has been in your family’s inheritance for hundreds of years. What would you do?
This is the situation facing Matt King (George Clooney) – a busy lawyer and also the sole trustee of a family trust owning acres of land on the island of Kaua’i. His wife, Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie) had been seeing somebody else the period before an accident that leaves her comatose. The two daughters – Alex (Shailene Woodley) and Scottie (Amara Miller) have their own idiosyncrasies but all in all pretty good children. So, with of this drama, can he manage his life and his family?
The story may seem pretty boring – but The Descendants is one of those movies that leave you things to digest. Admittedly, what draws me to this movie is the fact that Alexander Payne, the director-producer of this movie is also the person responsible for Sideways – a film that I really like. Both movies are very different – although both deal with the inner turmoils of the main character. Clooney pretty much carries the movie on his shoulder, although I must say that Woodley is brilliant as Alex: a confused girl who is slowly showing her strength and character in the midst of the confusing situation. Watching Woodley is like seeing Lindsey Lohan before she went kooky.
I enjoy The Descendants for the smart dialogues and the way the characters are portrayed in the complex situations – even the addition of Sid (Nick Krause), Alex’s seemingly doofus friend is a wonderful seasoning to this already enjoyable story. Payne handles each scene masterfully – light and playful, and yet utterly sensitive. Look out for a powerful scene that is one of the highlights of this movie – when Alex dives in the pool and releases her grief and anguish. Like Sideways, this is a movie that you will unravel and enjoy, long after you’ve watched it.