I think I know one winner for this year’s Oscar. And I am quite sure to say that Director Alexander Payne’s family drama “The Descendants” will surely win this years best adapted screenplay award. Adapted from the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming, The Descendants is all about dealing with the past while confronting the present and contemplating the future. This is a grown-up, perceptive film about family and responsibilities, disaster and salvation with a hint of humane humour. The Descendants is deeply rooted in Hawaiian history with George Clooney playing one of his best roles after Up in The Air.
Clooney plays Matt King, a successful real-estate lawyer in Hawaii.His wife, Elizabeth, has suffered a head injury in a speedboat accident and is in coma. Doctors have given up hope and want to set her free. Also she has an advance directive in her will, calling for her to be taken off life support so that, as her father (Robert Forster) says to Matt, “she won’t just lay there and spoil — like milk.” Matt has to tell his daughters Scottie (Amara Walker) and Alexandra (Shailene Woodley), with whom he doesn’t have good relations. Alexandra is in a rehab school for Drugs and alcohol abuse . When back home She reveals to Matt, how she caught her mother sneaking around with another man, something about which Matt was completely clueless. Then begins his chase t find out the guy, meet him face to face and tell him how he feels and what he wants. The Plot thickens. Matt’s family, descendants of some of the original Anglo settlers of Hawaii owns a huge parcel of undeveloped land on Kawai, which the family and cousins wants to sell off and make money out of it. In his mental state of conflict within himself he fights again all odds to sort out his life and give his wife a good farewell keeping his Descendants tradition and history in place.
Matt is caught in between Ethical dilemmas . The first is the revelation that Matt’s wife was in the throes of an affair in midst of the decision of life support to be taken away. Secondly, Matt has to decide whether to sell of the vast acres of prime Hawaiian real estate handed down to him after generations of ownership by his family.
George Clooney is as suave as ever. Acting his own age, believe this was a role tailor made for Clooney. Wearing those Hawaiian prints shirts and shorts, he is has portrayed a a with depth and simplicity. One of his best performance for sure. Supporting performances from Shailee Woodley and Amara. Both impress in their emotional maturity, and Robert Forster makes an impact as an angry and bitter father who has to say goodbye to his “little girl”. Least satirical among all Payne films, this movie is as character driven as the others. The whole story is so well written and acted upon genuinely that it will make you smile as well has make your eyes water. Character are superbly written and acted. The Descendants keeps its harder truths about family relationships at bay. Thriving on internal battles and some good performances, the movie is a good watch.
Rating – 3.5 Out of 5