The Descendants (2011)

The Descendants (2011)


Directed by: Alexander Payne
Cast: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Amar Miller



POP factor: 8/10


A film about a man and his daughters dealing with the selling of  land and family issues all at the same time!




~The Review~

Plot

A trustee must sell his land to one of a choice of different buyers, mean while his wife has been taken into intensive care and he must learn to take care of his two daughters on top of dealing with everything else.

Acting talent

Another week, another review and another George Clooney film. I have to say that he is still maintaining quite a good form in terms of acting talent, he really plays the role of the dispassionate and slightly socially awkward father well, it is interesting to see his slow transformation from dispassionate dad to top father. I also really liked Shailene's performance, she seemed to be the cement in the family and seemed quite a strong chemistry with George which I felt boosted the story in every way.  In addition to this it was nice to see Jeff bridges brother, Beau Bridges having a part in the final quarter of this film as he does share some ties with the area of Hawaii and also because him and his brother are top quality actors.

~SMALL SPOILER WARNING~ Nothing earth shattering but there still spoilers...

Positives

The best things about this film would have to be:
  •  No cliche ending...
Throughout the film Georges wife is in hospital, in a terminal condition after a boating accident. The on going theme underneath the whole; will he sell the land wont he situation, is that his wife's life is still in the balance. Luckily the makers of the film chose to kill her character off, keeping the film believable and realistic.
  • Solid Acting 
I know have already said this but the acting really is decent, George Clooney and two plucky daughters make for a really strong and engaging experience throughout the film.
  • Polished Story
The plot works. It is rather complex and has multiple layers of intricacy. This constant change of focus keeps you interested and constantly asking questions. While George is deciding to sell his land, he also finds out that his comatose wife was having an affair prior to the accident and so tries to track him down. The journey he goes on is really amazing to watch and the links between the characters does not feel contrived or preconceived.

Negatives

The bad points to this film for me would be that:

  • Lack of clarity
I personally felt that the story tried to focus its time in two different places simultaneously and unfortunately i felt that they did not manage to pull it off. I felt that they could have gone into slightly more detail concerning the ins and outs of the trust and why he had to sell. I know that the world of trusts can be quite a complicated business so I would have liked to see them spend a  larger proportion of the film describing the ins and outs of rules and regulations regarding the main topic of the story.

Summary

All in all then this film is a heart warming film that portrays themes which alot of fathers and I also think families will be able to relate to. It also has a strong dark humour underneath the surface which helps to further lighten the mood.  The story deals with a range of themes and for the most part manages them well, however I feel that the film does get a little lost in the family issues and should focus more time on the why it is he is having to sell this land that has been in his family for the last 100 years

(This issue may be specific to European countries as i know that we have different views towards the dealing of trusts then they do in america) 

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