Film Review: The Descendants

| 13 January , 2012 | Reply

Directed by: Alexander Payne
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller
Sassi\’s Star Rating: 4.5/5

Finally Hollywood screenplays are taking a more ‘real\’ stance in their scriptwriting. George Clooney was an absolute delight in this film that is filled with awesome conversations that feel like the real thing. What could have been a hugely boring and predictable storyline has been meticulously weaved to ‘show\’ rather than ‘tell\’ what is going on. Land Baron Matt King (Clooney) is the sole trust decision maker for the descendants of prosperous Hawaii land owners. With a limited amount of time to make a decision about what the next steps for the family inheritance will be, his wife is tragically left in a coma after a boating accident forcing him to split his time between visits to the hospital, rearing his two girls and trying to sort out the land deal with his many, many money hungry cousins. There\’s cousin Hugh, cousin Dave, cousin Milo, cousin Ralph, cousin Stan, cousin Hal, cousin Wink, cousin Connie and my favourite; cousin Six!

What unfolds over a crazy few weeks in the film is a story that held the audience so focused that there was hardly a movement in the cinema. Everyone was transfixed to the screen and totally involved the story. It was evident that we were all genuinely surprised as some of the dialogue, the moments that were captured and how personal everything was. I have never felt so engaged in such private moments that I felt were just shared with just me. Definite ‘fly on the wall\’ stuff with clever directing by Alexander Payne, who co-wrote this screenplay and not surprisingly, also penned the popular film Sideways.

Alexandra (Woodley) and Scottie (Miller) are Matt\’s daughters who also provide very engaging performances and there is more focus, once again, on the characters rather than the ‘sad pretty girls\’ kind of scenario that often exists. These girls are beautiful in every sense exploring anger issues, regular and ‘reasonable\’ teenage issues and provide wonderful comedic breaks.

A matured Matthew Lillard (Scooby Doo, Scream) plays the mysterious character that becomes entangled in the storyline – but I don\’t want to give away too much – so no naming of his character here! He does it well and shows us more of his capabilities as an actor that may have been overlooked in Hollywood.

All in all, this film will have you thinking, provide you with a really challenging storyline and has a satisfying conclusion. Hats off to George Clooney for taking on such a magnificent role and this is a must see for the new year!

Get your cousins and go see The Descendants! In cinemas now.


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Category: Film & TV

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