November 25, 2011

The Descendants - 2011

Director: Alexander Payne
Cowriters: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, & Jim Rash
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer

After his wife slips into a coma, Hawaiian native Matt King (Clooney) must become a father to his two daughters with renewed vigor. However, a wrinkle comes into play when one of King's daughters tells him about an affair his wife was having before her accident.

Payne's last film was Sideways all the way back in 2004, and I'm glad as hell to see him back. While the protagonists of the three films of his I've seen could be said to share a basic archetype, that doesn't make them any less enjoyable. This time he's working with Clooney, who's pitch perfect as the haole (white Hawaiian) struggling to keep his life together while tackling a B-plot related to the sale of some family land. It's this secondary storyline that seems a bit excessive, but otherwise it's a spectacular film. The cinematography shows off the natural beauty and Hawaii, and all of the cast is terrific, right on down to the newcomers portraying King's daughters. I hope Payne doesn't wait seven years for his next film. A

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