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From Alexander Payne; the creator of the Oscar-winning SIDEWAYS; set in Hawaii; THE DESCENDANTS is a sometimes humorous; sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls; who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the familys land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.
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Top customer reviews
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I loved it. I loved the process the Clooney character goes through as he learns a lot more about his wife than he wanted to know. I loved some very prickly and honest monologues he delivers at her bedside. And his relationships with his kids. (Teach your parents well...) It's interesting to see the lights in his internal life come on (in relationship to almost everything going on in his life) at the same time his wife's lights are going out.
He was a victim of cliche that you can never truly know someone. He learns his wife's secret and that starts his journey of discovery and in the end he learns about himself.
The movie has warmth and sees it's characters through a very human lens.
No one gets life, love or relationships right. All you can do is calibrate your compass and keep trying.
Clooney narrates and is a great narrator. The characters are believable and authentic. Nothing felt overdone. Shailene Woodley plays the angry teenage daughter and she is outstanding. It also had nice closure for the ending without being sappy.
Truthfully, I can't put my finger on why I wouldn't give this a 5. It is a good movie that was well done. There were many scenes that I would call great. When Clooney's character confronts his wife's lover he asks him if he loved her. The scoundrel pauses before answering (b/c clearly the truth was "no") and you can see the pain on Clooney's face. Even in her betrayal, he didn't want her to be used like that. Or maybe he felt even more worthless that his wife was so desperate for affection that she couldn't see the obvious. Either way, it was a surprising question for him to ask and his reaction to the response was one of many things that fleshed out his character.
Why no 5 star??? I guess overall it just didn't blow me away. I'd still recommend it, though.