A wealthy landowner tries to bond with his estranged
daughters after his wife ends up in a permanent coma.
The Descendants (2011)
Directed by Alexander Payne
Written by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Starring George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Robert Forster, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer
Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Oscar Wins - Best Adapted Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Director, Best Film Editing
George Clooney has the uncanny ability to balance comedy and drama in such a relatable way. His fast wit and emotional range work together to create an unforgettable story that fires on all cylinders. Combine that with the dry humor of Alexander Payne and you've got a surefire winner that I can't believe took me this long to watch. The Descendants is a powerful drama with a heart made of comedy, which really helps balance out the grief. If this film was too serious, it wouldn't be enjoyable, and if it was too funny, it couldn't be taken seriously. Gotta love that happy medium.
Clooney plays Matt King, a wealthy land baron whose wife ends up in a coma after a boating accident. Matt then finds out his wife was cheating on him, but he can't confront her about it. He tries to reconnect with his daughters Alexandra (Woodley) and Scottie (Miller), as well as track down the guy who banged his wife. Along the way, Matt realizes what's truly important in his life and doesn't let it go, and he also tries to find the courage to forgive his wife and move on. There are so many hilarious moments, but they never take away from the gravity of the story.
The Descendants is one of the best family dramedies to come out of the 2010's. Alexander Payne has such a way with storytelling, and I'm glad he took home an Oscar for this one. It's a film I'd definitely watch again, and would probably take away something different each time.