This DVD turns up quite often in the supermarket bargain bucket, which has always put me off buying it, even though I’ve picked it up many times. Shows how much I know – ‘The Descendants‘ received 130 award nominations and won 65 of them! I watched it on the TV this week, so that was definitely a bargain.
Matt King (George Clooney) is a successful Hawaiian lawyer who is also the trustee of a significant amount of land owned by his family. Selling the land to developers would be lucrative for Matt and his cousins. Married to Elizabeth for many years, the Kings have two daughters, Alex (Shailene Woodley) and Scottie (Amara Miller), but life has been challenging of late. The two girls have been behaving badly and Matt and Elizabeth have been having some problems in their marriage. Things take a definite turn for the worse when Elizabeth is badly injured in an accident; doctors tell Matt she is not going to wake up from her coma, and the decision is made to turn off her life support. As if things aren’t bad enough for Matt, Alex then reveals that she knew her mother had been having an affair. With his wife dying and unable to communicate, Matt tries to restore harmony throughout his life.
Clooney plays this part with great sensitivity – feeling his way across the chasms which divide him from Elizabeth and their daughters. Shailene Woodley seems to mature before your eyes as the movie develops; changing from a self-obsessed, self-destructive teenager, to a caring sister and supportive daughter. Matt faces some tough decisions and I believe that this film is essentially about doing the Right Thing, however awkward the consequences.