I’m a Jim Rash fan and his other film also written with Nat Faxon The Way Way Back is one I am very fond of. The Descendants also has lots of award recognition with a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama and Best Motion Picture – Drama plus an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay plus several nominations at both awards definitely adds to the credibility. I wasn’t sure exactly what The Descendants was about, but I was definitely pulled in and feel the film is Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy.
Descendants showcases George Clooney.
Matt King (George Clooney) is a land baron who is trying to reconnect with his two daughters, Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) and Scottie (Amara Miller), while his wife is in the hospital after a serious boating accident.
Clooney really is great in this film. He manages to really make me like him and there are some very strong dramatic moments, but even a few funny ones. There is a scene where Clooney finds out some troubling information and rather than walk he runs quite a distance. The look on his face is intense and ridiculous and it’s both tragic and comedic. His interactions with Woodley are probably the best in the film, and she is continuing to earn my respect as an actress. Between this film and Spectacular Now, I’m becoming a fan of hers.
The surprise character in the film was Nick Krause as his character Sid initially makes me hate him. By the end of the film, however, Sid was a really complex character that they even managed to flesh out a little bit. The loyalty he seems to be giving to Clooney’s character is respectable and really made me like him a lot.
Directed by Alexander Payne, the film seems to establish a tone of frustration and dealing with loss. The characters all have their own way of dealing with it and it makes for some crazy moments. The film has an unfair advantage of being set in Hawaii so all the long shot transitions are often gorgeous and stands in stark contrast to the darker content of the subject matter.
I’m really glad I watched this film, but it was a little hard given the recent passing of my father-in-law. I had recently seen or felt a lot of the emotions in the film and that made the emotional reaction of it a bit more impactful. A great story with really great performances so it may be one to add to your watch list.