By Byron Gordon | December 5, 2011
If you haven’t seen it yet, GO SEE IT. Why? George Clooney, whom I actually never thought much of as a professional actor (with the exception of his ER days) displays some fine acting chops in his most recent film, The Descendants. He plays Matt King, a real-estate baron and indifferent husband who finds himself suddenly faced with calamity as his wife ends up in a coma after a boating accident. King comes to learn that his wife was having an affair and must come to terms with his previous benign neglect of his two daughters and his absenteeism as a parent and husband.
What makes this movie work so well is the superior dialogue and script. King’s daughters are justifiably estranged from their father but ultimately long for reconnection as they seek to bind their wounds and rediscover the importance of family. Matt King never imagined his wife having an affair (as far as we can tell) but grows emotionally by the tragic death of his wife. He can’t forgive her but he can still love her. This movie rests on the shoulders of Clooney because if you doubt his sincerity to his character then you won’t find the story believable in the slightest.
But Clooney is authentic as Matt King, a lawyer more consumed by his work than devotion to his family and whose descendants have left him some exquisite land on the island of Kauai, which he faces pressure to develop and sell. It also helps that the actors portraying his daughters do a stellar job at expressing the angst and frustration of their respective ages.
This film will remind you (in case you need it) of just how fragile life is and how you must nurture your relationships with your family and yourself. My only constructive criticism of this film is director Alexander Payne featuring one too many scenes of the comatose wife. It wasn’t necessary and tears are shed by the second time you see her. But George Clooney’s acting in this film will stay with you for a long time to come.
If you have seen this film, what did you think? Do you agree with my review? Or disagree?