Oscar-worthy portrayal from Clooney
Set against the lush backdrop of the Hawaiian Islands, The Descendants is a heartbreaking portrait of a family in crisis.
Clooney - nominated for an Oscar for the role - is a wealthy landowner in Hawaii; he is a trustee of part of paradisal coast, passed down by ancestors which is in the process of being sold to a developer.
When his adrenaline-junkie wife Liz (Patricia Hastie) is left in a vegetative state after a water-skiing accident, Matthew bravely gathers together his 10-year-old daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) and his rebellious 17-year-old daughter Alex (Shailene Woodley).
The teenager stopped talking to her mother shortly before the accident and it transpires Alex discovered Liz was having an affair with real estate agent Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard).
The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.
The film provides George Clooney with the role of his career and the handsome star elegantly navigates choppy emotional waters as a father who must turn off his wife’s life support machine while dealing with the grief of his two children.
The scene in which his character prepares to give the final order to doctors, kissing his beloved on the forehead and whispering “goodbye my love, my pain” as a single tear rolls down his cheek, is sublime.
An Oscar next month would be a fitting reward.
Moving and blackly funny, The Descendants deals with universal emotions about the nature of family which will strike a chord with everyone.
It captures the unpredictable messiness of life with eloquence and uncommon grace.
I really got into this film, and was sorry when it ended. It was very emotional, but funny at times, a great story line and well acted and I felt great sympathy for Matthew.
All in all, an excellent film.