My rating: 4 and a half reels out of 5
The Descendants begins with the over explanatory voiceover of Matt King, who explains that life on Hawaii is no different from anywhere. Families are just as dysfunctional and tears are shed just like anywhere else. Unlike everyone else, not everyone inherits land when their ancestors marry into royalty and has the option from making millions from selling said land. Besides that, Matt King is like everyone else. He has two out of control daughters and is suffering from a loveless marriage, but all things change when his wife falls into a coma after a boating accident. And once the voiceover work stops, the story is finally unfolding naturally in front of us.
George Clooney always manages to bring the best out of his characters in his movies, even though he always looks the same. He is truly an old school type actor, something like Cary Grant. One of the actresses that stands out in this movie though is Shailene Woodley who plays the daughter, Alexandra King. As a troubled daughter, she is sent away to set herself straight. When she is brought back home, she takes on a parenting type role as her father, Matt King, still has a lot to learn. She brings a sort of ferocity to the role, but with a little bit of vulnerability. She loves her father even though he has been distant from the family.
The Descendants doesn't explore anything new. This is not the first movie about a father trying to reconnect with his children, but it does explore reconnection in a different way through confronting the man that his wife was having an affair with. Alexander Payne always does a good job in mixing humor with drama. There seems to be a certain style to all his characters in his movies. They're like the kind of people you would get really annoyed with after a while, but you're still able to sympathize and laugh with them.
The Descendants starts out a little rough, but eventually turns into a dramedy that Alexander Payne fans are used to.
You'll like this film if:
1. You're an Alexander Payne fan.
2. You're a George Clooney fan.
You probably won't like this film if:
1. You don't like character based movies.
2. The trailers make the movie look boring.