Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Descendants

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 The Descendants, 2011
Directed by Alexander Payne
Possible Oscar Nominations Include: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay<!- google_ad_section_end ->

Matt King is the "back up parent", as he solely puts it right at the beginning of the film. He is an attorney, an owner of a huge chunk of land of Kauai, and a descendant of Hawaiian Royalty and American Missionaries, a husband, and a father of two (messed up) daughters. Alex, 17, is recovering from drug addictions and drinking problems, while Scottie, 10, is acting way too old for her age, and is completely inappropriate on many occasions. How far they have fallen from the royal status. Matt's wife, Elizabeth was in a boating accident, and he receives news, after about a month of being in a coma, she's won't make it and will be taken off life support. After he tells Alex, who was recently (and currently) fighting with her mom, she reveals that she's been cheating on him. Meanwhile, his family's land on Kauai is going up for sale, and they're trying to decide who to sell it to. So, Matt, Alex, Scottie and Alex's friend Sid, all jet off to Kauai together, firstly to find the man Elizabeth has been seeing, and secondly, surprisingly, they change forever.

Incidentally, I went and saw this R-rated movie with my grandmother and my father. I already found that a little bit funny, and just a little ironic. My grandmother was the one keen on seeing it, so my father and I joined in. Which I was excited about because I wanted to see it, but no one else wanted to go with me.

I was excited to see this film. I'd been hearing lots of good things about it. It's been getting lots of Oscar Buzz, is nominated at the Gotham awards this year, and it's Alexander Payne's first film since 'Sideways'. So I went in with medium expectations (hyped about the movie, but haven't seen anything by Payne, or watched many films with George Clooney in them).

The film was great. Like many reviews I've read, I was crying one minute and laughing the next. It was a touching film, and Clooney was really fantastic as Matt King. He gave an extremely convincing performance at being at a loss to do with his messed up daughters and how to handle them. He didn't know what to do about his wife being taken off life support, how to tell people and what to do next. And then he finds out she's been cheating. He's, again, at a loss. And Clooney gave a hilarious and heart-wrenching performance. I cried when he cried, and felt awkward when he did, and felt elated when he did too.

On another acting note, Shailene Woodley (a newcomer to film) also gave quite a good performance. She's messed up, and angry, but we see her transform throughout the film. She did an angsty, potty-mouthed teen well, and really stood her ground beside Clooney. The pair made the film so alive and so real.

Overall, the film was pretty good. The Hawaiian scenery was beautiful, the score was ironic (you'll understand when you watch) but well done. The acting was top notch, and the story itself was complex and interesting. We see the best and worst of humanity, but leaning more towards the worst. What would we do if we found out information about someone we loved, that would forever change our views on them, of what we thought we knew? We see in this film how we're all people, wherever we live, dealing with the crappy stuff, with the bad stuff, and you just gotta get through it, and appreciate what you have. We all make mistakes, and we all get angry and scared, but in the end, you have to make the most of everything you have, before it's gone.

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Will this movie win best picture at this years Academy Awards? Honestly, I don't think so. Will it be nominated? That's pretty much for sure. It was a great film, and really funny AND moving and I really enjoyed it, but I don't see it winning. However, George Clooney is one to be reckoned with for Best Actor. Mr. Pitt had better watch his back.<!- google_ad_section_end ->

Rating: 8/10

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