Monday, March 5, 2012

The Descendants (2011)



"I don't want my daughters growing up entitled and spoiled. And I agree with my father: you give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing".

            I did not really have a desire to see The Descendents when it was released in theaters. But after it won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay I figured I would give it a shot. I did not go into this film with any expectations which helped because they were neither let down nor met.
            Matt King (George Clooney) is dealing with his comatose wife, Elizabeth, who has been in the hospital for a few weeks. She is not getting better but he is hopeful. Matt is more hopeful that she wakes up because he has two daughters that he knows barely anything about since his wife mostly took care of them. Scottie is ten and finding her own identity. She is also acting out since her mom is in the hospital and getting into trouble. Alexandra is away at college but once Matt finds out that his wife is going to die he goes and gets her. When he and Scottie get Alexandra she is playing golf outside in the middle of the night completely drunk.
            The next day Alexandra tells Matt that Elizabeth was cheating on him. So now on top of the news that she is going to die Matt now has to deal with the fact that she was cheating on him. When he takes the girls to the hospital Matt goes in first and yells at her then Alexandra has her turn and yells at her as well.
            Now Matt is on the hunt to the find the man Elizabeth cheated with. When he finds the guy it turns out that he is associated with a deal Matt and his family are working on to sell land that has been in their family for over one hundred years.
            To me this pretty much sums up the story of The Descendents. It is about reconnecting with family and holding on to strong family bonds… well that is my take.
            The whole run of the film I was puzzled as to how the screenplay won. I did not think it was anything special at all.
            The cast was really good though. George Clooney was excellent. I am not a fan of Shailene Woodley but I thought she was great. Matthew Lillard is in this movie. Yeah, remember him as the annoying self-centered guy She’s All That and Shaggy from Scooby Doo? I thought it was so random I have not seen this guy in a movie since Scooby Doo. Great casting with Judy Greer, Mary Birdsong, and Beau Bridges in small parts.
            The Descendents was alright. I was not expecting anything great and it was not. It felt like there was a lot missing. Even though the cast did some great acting at times its felt like they were all holding back. Maybe it was just the way the characters were written they all just felt really held back. The holding back took away from the movie and made it seem slow and dull.