Connect with us

Movie Reviews

The Descendants



Released: 27th January 2012 (UK)

Director: Alexander Payne

Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller

Certificate: 15

Reviewer: Ben Harris

Expectations were high for ‘The Descendants’ after it won Best Motion Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes but this character driven drama falls short in its slightly bland and dragged out storytelling.

George Clooney stars as Matt King, a husband and father whose life is turned upside down when his wife suffers a head injury during a boating accident. Not always being there for his family Matt reconnects with his two daughters whilst trying to make a decision on selling Hawaiian land that he shares with his relatives.

At nearly two hours ‘The Descendants’ linear narrative plods along with uneventful scenarios being composed of tested relationships and cliché character development (becoming a better person), which is a moral brought to the forefront. This all revolves around waiting for the wife and mother of our protagonists to take her last breath, who you can’t really sympathise with as she has betrayed her family and damaged relationships.

Confessions and secrets are revealed as the story progresses resulting in emotional challenges for our leading man. These revelations are the high points of the film but they quickly diminish resulting in a sluggish pace.

The series of events take place in the beautiful Hawaii. The backdrop is breathtaking and director, and writer, Alexander Payne directs with charm. It’s towards the end when Payne takes the film to a more emotional level. It’s at this moment that ‘The Descendants’ becomes moving and wonderfully acted.

Clooney delivers playing a man who is struggling to deal with a complex situation. He’s a character trying to stay strong for his children and not show weakness, even though he’s dealing with the emotional trauma that is brought upon him. It’s also newcomer Shailene Woodley who impresses as troubled daughter Alexandra. A girl who has made mistakes but has to mature for the sake of her sister and father. But a pointless character named Sid, Nick Krause, brings little to the film and his humour falls flat.

‘The Descendants’ shows signs of weakness but strong performances and direction is just enough to keep our focus.

Just For You