Written November 21, 2011
This rises above the usual Hollywood holiday fare. It drips authenticity, and handles the difficult subject of a dying family member in a deft and realistic way. Honest performances from Clooney and his two onscreen kids, sensitive and surefooted direction from Alexander Payne and a mature appreciation of the ways in which the impending death of a wife and mother change those around her "The Descendants" one of 2011's finest films. This is not to say there are not moments of laughter, joy and sheer entertainment. Beer is drunk, punches are thrown, curse words abound. And of course, tears are shed, onscreen and in the audience. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Written November 24, 2011
Best movie I've seen in a long time. Story and characters are so natural and nuanced and complex, struggling for dignity, flawed, utterly believable. Casting is brilliant across the board. Clooney as Matt King and his 2 daughters Alex & Scottie have rich, many-dimensioned interactions. He and Alex's performances are subtle genius. beau bridges captures perfectly a middle aged guy who's coasted on his inheritance and plays affable, easy-going, and unmaterialistic on the outside but reveals through twitches in his lip and opaque comments how venal & ultimately self-loathing he is. And even the smaller roles are richly realized and critical to the overall tone and telling of the story: Alex's stoner friend Sid, the couple down the street who are good friends, the father-in-law.
The closing three scenes are so quietly elegant and beautiful, deeply sad but so personal and somehow affirming that within all of us is the capacity for tenderness and forgiveness. A great film.
Written November 25, 2011
When the same person writes, produces,and directs, it is a good one! This is more than true with the DESCENDANTS. Heart wrenching and playful scenes played out with enjoyable characters and a brilliant adaptation of the novel. This will get a few nods in February. All the elements are character development work and te performances are realistic.
Worth full price on date night.
Written November 28, 2011
Matt King is George Clooney's most likeable character yet. He is a father and husband having to come to grips with a life- altering tragic event and he (and we) don't know if he's up to the challenge. Although I was sometimes distracted, IT IS George Clooney after all, I was more taken by his every-man persona and (gasp!) schlubby appearance. No tuxes for this role. Just emotion, and angst, which look damned good on him.
The supporting cast was terrific and everyone in the film managed to hold back what could have been gratuitous tugging on the heartstrings but instead turned out to be genuine and sometimes even funny.
The more I think about this film, the more I like it. Leave the kids at Happy Feet 2 and go see what should be the role that garners another Oscar nomination for Mr. Clooney and the beginning of stardom for a couple of young actors/actresses.
Written November 25, 2011
Interesting film. Clooney has never been better. I am still thinking about how I feel. Many reviewers write about how funny the movie is - I think we saw it in alternate universes.