Bottom Line: You’ll laugh and cry more than ever.
“Paradise? Paradise can go f–k itself.” –George Clooney as Matt King
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Starring: Amara Miller, George Clooney, Shailene Woodley
Mature cross between tearjerking drama and biting comedy follows the narration of Matt King (George Clooney), a workaholic living in Hawaii. We are told early on that his wife has fallen into a coma from a boating accident, and later that she will not survive. Devastated, Matt makes an attempt to connect with his two daughters, 10 and 17. Only to bring him further shock, he is told by his teenage daughter that before her boating accident, his wife was having an affair.
The monstrous effort Clooney delivers to develop his character is nothing less than astounding, and it would be shocking for the Best Actor Oscar to not go to him this February, regardless of the other nominees. His character, Matt King, narrates in the beginning of the film that he was always the “backup parent.” His teenage daughter Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) has shows absolutely no respect at all for him, almost constantly swearing in front of him and questioning his fatherly role. His other daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) is not much better, appearing to take her own older sister as a role model. Even in such a dysfunctional family, George Clooney is believable as more than just a “backup parent.” When he visits his wife in the hospital at one point, he unleashes his inner hot-headedness: rather than forgiving her and saying goodbye, he yells at her about all the mistakes she made and at that point could not undo.
“My wife’s dying. Wait a minute, f–k you! And my wife’s dying.” –George Clooney as Matt King
Most movies have one or two tearjerking scenes, but THE DESCENDANTS tugs at heartstrings from beginning to end. From the moment we hear Matt mention his wife’s tragic situation, we have our hearts sinking and become sympathetic. If you’re looking for a movie that goes to a superlative level of both the comedy and drama genres, THE DESCENDANTS is for you. If not, I pity you.