Learn about the movie: The Descendants is set in Hawaii and follows the unpredictable journey of an American family at a crossroads. Matt King (George Clooney), a husband and father of two girls, must re-examine his past and navigate his future when his wife is in a boating accident off Waikiki. He awkwardly attempts to repair his relationship with his daughters — 10-year-old precocious Scottie (Amara Miller) and rebellious 17-year-old Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) — while wrestling with a decision to sell his family’s land. Handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries, the Kings own some of the last priceless virgin parcels of tropical beach in the islands.
When Alexandra drops the bombshell that her mother was in the midst of a romantic fling at the time of the accident, Matt has to take a whole new look at his life, not to mention his legacy, during a week of momentous decisions. With his girls in tow, he embarks on a haphazard search for his wife’s lover. Along the way, in encounters alternately funny, troublesome and transcendent, he realizes he’s finally on course toward rebuilding his life and family.
My say: With 26 wins (according to IMDB) under its belt and a high possibility of being a strong contender for the prestigious Oscars 2012 Award, I must say that The Descendant is 1 of the best movies that I have watched in the recent years. Despite its idyllic setting (the paradise islands of Hawaii), the movie takes on a rather serious tone as it explores the theme of death and family dysfunction. The impending death of Matt King’s (George Clooney) daredevil wife – Liz – has resulted in an emotional turmoil and chaos for all the family members – A “back-up” father who has to deal with the truth of his dying wife’s infidelity, a rebellious teenager who hates her mother for cheating on her father and the youngest daughter coming of age but having no parent to turn to.
As part of the audience, we experienced the roller-coaster journey of the family as they struggled to cope with the grief of losing their mother and watched as the tragic event uncannily brought the family members even closer together. The actors have played their characters so beautifully well that I found myself tearing alongside with them (and many of the women in the audience) during the emotional scenes. As hard as I tried to resist, tears rolled down my cheeks as I saw how the family had to deal with the pain of saying goodbye to a loved one. Having lost my grandfather to old age a few months back, it wasn’t difficult to put myself in their shoes and relate to the emotionally-charged scene.
For those who are concern that The Descendants is a tad too emotional for them, there is no cause of worry as the movie comes with its fair share of funny moments. Acclaimed director – Alexander Payne – has successfully woven humour into the drama thus giving the audience many reasons to laugh throughout the entire film. Some characters, such as Liz’ lover and his wife, provided comic relief with their excellent performance. Creating humour in a tearjerker is a skill to master and Payne has pulled it off with great aplomb! A heartfelt movie with strong performances from its lead actors, The Descendants is a masterpiece that deserves a nomination in the running of Best Movie for the Oscars.
The Descendants opens at all major cinemas on 26th Jan.
Rating: and half out of 5
* Thanks to Omy Blog for the invitation to the sneak preview of The Descendants.