Monday, February 13, 2012

Movie Review: The Descendants

In many Hollywood movies, it’s very rare to find a film having Hawaii as the setting and does not have a plot involving the beach and surfing. The Descendants is a movie that does not highlight the “paradise” theme of the island state but features the realities in a normal American family, much similar to what others also experience in the main land. 

This movie, I must say, is George Clooney’s finest hour as a talented actor. This certainly is a successful “bounce back” after a long dormancy in his acting career. Director Alexander Pyne, the same guy who made critically acclaimed movies such as “Sideways” and “About Schmidt” among other great films, has yet again created another masterpiece that all members of the family would enjoy watching.

The Descendants is about the story of Matt King (George Clooney), a lawyer with a promising career in the Islands of Hawaii. He’s trying to juggle his roles that involve troubleshooting a domestic crisis happening in his family and having the responsibility of being trustee to 25,000 acres of pristine, wide ancestral land in the island of Kauai, passed down from his ancestral Royal roots.

What complicates the story is the accident that happened to his wife who ended up in a coma. Their two daughters, 10 year old Scottie (Amara Miller) and 17 year old Alexandra (played by impressive newcomer Shailene Woodley), with their near-the edge delinquent behaviors add insult to Matt’s misery. What made matters worse is the discovery of his wife’s illicit affair which prompted him to do some investigation about his wife’s lover. 

In his efforts to find the “guy”, his two daughters tagged along for the ride which made them closer together as family. Along with the “adventure” was Alexandra’s local surfer friend named “Sid” played by Nick Krause who provides comic relief to the story. Their journey brought them from Oahu to Kauai where Matt found the whereabouts of the “lover” named Brian Speer (played by comedic actor Mathew Lillard) who happens to be a real estate broker visiting the island hoping to clinch “big” business. After a heated confrontation, the family went back home to Oahu so Matt and his daughters could be there during the wife’s remaining days. 

The film is a wonderful break for most of the busy people out there who are all perked-up from work and neglecting some of the important things in life like family. Matt King may have thrown the towel and agreed that his wife be unplugged from life support but he was determined enough to win his children’s affection and improve their relationship as a family. This valuable lesson is demonstrated yet again when he made the all-important decision about the legacy their ancestors left him and the other descendants.

Catch this heartwarming film with your family.
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