CAST & CREW
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The Descendants is a drama based on a book by Kaui Hart Hemmings, which has the same name.
Plot: Life in Hawaii isn't a permanent vacation; it isn't just about catching waves or sipping Mai Tais. And we see just this is as workaholic lawyer Matt King ( George Clooney) struggles to make decisions that would decide his future with his daughters and the rest of his extended family. He is a descendant of a land-owning family, and now there's pressure on him to sell it to a developer so they can all be rich, but his teenage daughters Scottie (Amara Miller) and Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) are dead set against it. Matt's wife's (Patricia Hastie) accident adds to the events going on, and her going into deep coma further tests their relationships. The meaning of family, love, and inheritance are re-visited as Matt goes through this rollercoaster of a journey very unprepared.
Analysis: At the most basic level, this movie is about how a confused soul reconnects with his daughters. At a deeper level, it is more, so much more than just that. It has its moments of joy, and it has its moments of sadness; just like life. The comedy embedded in it has surprising timing, but they are all good surprises. The movie is just right - never too much, never too little. Just perfect. The lead actor is at his best yet and is the real pitch in the movie. All the others in their small but significant roles blend in very well too.
Star performances: Director cum co-writer Alexander Payne is absolutely brilliant. He's given the movie great depth because of his ability to link the nature of his actors to their characters and do according to what they're best at. Lead actor George Clooney acts like his life depends on the movie. Female Debutant Amara Miller and Shailene Woodley in supporting roles do a commendable job as typical troubled teenagers. The cinematography is by Phedon Papamichael, who previously worked on Payne's hit movie Sideways. The screenplay is also by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.
1. George Clooney shows marvelous skills like no other. He's so good; it's almost as though the viewer was going through his turmoil.
2. The movie is the ultimate package - an emotion-packed story, amazing cinematography, and great actors.
What's not there?
1. A small possibility, like with every great movie, that this kind of story is not cut out for all types of audience.
2. The Hawaii State's beauty isn't captured much; it looked quite mundane. The focus is on the story.
Verdict: This movie is easily one of 2011's better ones. A must watch.
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