The Descendants

There are certain actors in Hollywood that can literally print their own money. George Clooney is certainly at the front of that class. As I watched the first 20 minutes of The Descendants with my wife today it sure felt like a great excuse for Mr. Clooney to rack up another 8-digit payday and spend some quality time filming in Hawaii.

Then something strange happened... the movie turned into a film.

At about the 20 minute mark into the movie we meet Alexandra King, the daughter of Clooney's character Matt. Despite some past issues with discipline, and a being shipped off the island (literally) to a boarding school, Ms. King finds herself back at home with her little sister, her father, and her "friend" Sid. Who knew that in a film starring one of the top 3 actors of my lifetime, that Shailene Woodley would steal the show?

The Descendants is a story of Matt King, a lawyer who is entrusted with a large portion of land in Hawaii passed down from his great, great grandparents. After his wife is injured in a boating accident and goes into a coma that she will never come out of he is forced to take a look at his life as a single parent and a man who has the power to make his entire extended family rich. Only after his wife is on her deathbed does Matt find out what has been going on behind his back for the past few months. This leads a very funny, and very serious look at life and death and all that happens in between.

I thought the creative team behind this film did a terrific job in taking some very serious material and making it appropriate for a man with a 10-year old daughter. There is quite a bit of language in this film that I don't imagine many 10-year olds would ever hear, but it added to the comedic relief that was so desperately needed throughout the 2 hours in the theater.

Clooney was outstanding. With a cast of not so well known actors he had to carry the majority of the film. Not surprisingly he did a great job, but I was blown away by the job that the young Woodley did. She brought attitude, laughs, and brains at all different parts of the film and was solid throughout. Throw in the dumb comedy brought to the table by Nick Krause (Sid), and the cuteness of Amara Miller (Scottie King), and this movie will bring out every emotion possible out of each person in the theater.

The Descendants
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Written by: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, and Kaui Hart Hemmings
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and Amara Miller
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Would Gene Pick it?: Yes

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