Movie Review: The Descendants

29 Jan

After a seven year break, Alexander Payne is back with his latest offering which is a real Oscar frontrunner. It tackles some of the themes that we’ve previously seen in Payne’s work but certainly includes new material. It definitely goes along with his perfect track record.

Matt King (George Clooney) is a land baron in Hawaii. He’s supposedly in ‘paradise’ but life doesn’t seem to be very paradisiacal at the moment. His wife has just suffered from a boating accident and is in a serious coma. He’s now left to take care of his two daughters, and he’s the self confessed ‘back-up’ parent. While Ms. King is in the coma he finds out that she’s been having an affair.


Payne has crafted this film wonderfully, and it feels perfectly chiselled but without it being fake. It presents itself to be very gracious and human indeed. Not only are his shots gorgeous but he’s brought a lovely energy to this movie and you’ll be able to snuggle up to it with ease. His script which he’s adapted along with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, is very well written and moves elegantly. You will laugh and I will say that I had a tear in my eye for sure and the woman next to me had tissues out.

George Clooney is on his top form and is the frontrunner to win the Oscar which he thoroughly deserves. He’s definitely in a different role than usual, he’s a middle aged normal guy unlike the powerful men we’re used to seeing him act as. His performance is so fabulous and subtle that we simply breathe him in without putting so much effort to understand his troubled character. Both of the kids have done a great job and Shailene Woodley brings her character alive and is forceful but she develops her character and their attitude so precisely. It’s apparent that all of the cast have a really good understanding of their characters and the relationships.

This film is so gently, soft and warm that I get completely moved by it. What was very strange to me, was that I thought the movie was good immediately after I had seen it but it really affected me and it wasn’t until the day after that I realised that it was outstanding.

Rating: 5/5

14 Responses to “Movie Review: The Descendants”

  1. alexandrinus January 29, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    love this movie

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

      Thank you for commenting! Glad you did.

  2. colincarman January 30, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    A good movie will definitely stick with you the day after, a good test! Rock on!

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Completely agree. Sticks with you for a very long time. And you can definitely rematch it. A fantastic film

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Amelie February 3, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    Many people recently has been saying that this film was ok, but nothing much. Personally, I think this is one of the best film of the year and although I’ve seen it once already, I cannot wait to see it again. It really is an amazing and delicate story and kept me engaged non stop. Here is my “kind-of” review of it
    I really enjoyed yours

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

      I wholeheartedly agree! The person I went with said it was good but nothing special. I think this should win Best Picture. I think it was so delicate and subtle. Love your post!

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Diana February 7, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    I really liked the movie as well, it was sweet and moving!

    Hey, guess what? Since you’re one of my favorite blogs, I have nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. Check out my post for details:

    Feel free to accept or decline. No pressure.

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Thank you so much! You are incredibly kind! I’ve put you on my blogroll after reading your blog. It’s really good! Thank you so so so much!

      Glad you liked the film 🙂

  5. Jim February 8, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Ok – enough said – I have to see this!

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      You really need to see it!

  6. Nick February 11, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    I honestly am on the fence about this movie. I think that it is a getting a lot of praise because it is Clooney and apparently Payne is some directing God because of Election and Sideways. I didn’t have a problem with either of the movies, but I just didn’t find myself to emotionally involved with the film. Clooney was great though, but I mean nothing really clicked for me. Good review though.

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      A lot of people do feel this way. Payne really is a masterful filmmaker and I think he showed it here. The pace of this story was great and it felt really sincere and heartfelt. For me I was really emotionally involved and it moved me. I also appreciated that the family was really real and it was an incredibly human movie. Clooney was fantastic and deserves the Oscar even though Jean Dujardin will probably win. I can understand why you feel that way though!

  7. 3guys1movie February 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    Loved this film, I really liked how they made Hawaii seem so melancholy to fit with mood. Thought the soundtrack was amazing as well. nice review

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      I agree entirely. It didn’t glamourise Hawaii at all and I love Clooney’s opening lines which really plunged me into the film. Though I didn’t like the soundtrack as such, it really added a lot to the movie.

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