“The Descendants”: A Hawaiian Tribute

Imagine this is George Clooney as a family man… finally. Albeit, a little dysfunctional.

Clooney plays Matt King, a prominent lawyer with three big problems happening in his middle age life. 1) His wife is in a coma and he has to take care of his two daughters which he has not done, ever. 2) He is currently in charge of a trust that contains the last natural part of Hawaii. His cousins are currently trying to decided what to do with it, but Matt is the last deciding factor. 3) He learns his wife was cheating on him.

Now those are some pretty big problems and it’s a good thing that you only have to get a quick flight to get to the different islands of Hawaii. Clooney does a pretty good job of towing his daughters around with their one friend to tell people about his wife’s condition and find the person his wife cheated on him with from island to island.

People were upset that Shailene Woodley who plays Alexandra King, the eldest daughter, didn’t nab a nomination. I thought she was good, but I thought she just played a very unstable teenager. I don’t know if that’s very hard to play. I did however grow quite an affection for Scottie played by Amara Miller, the youngest fiery daughter who has quite a mouth on her.

The same could be said for Clooney. Everyone is loving George Clooney in his role, but I think he showed a deeper character in “Up in the Air”. I didn’t dislike George Clooney. He definitely played a great awkward father with his different hairstyle. However, I thought if I had to say where he really deserved his nomination, it would be at the end of the film when he says goodbye to wife. It shows the full circle of everything he goes through. People could just say, “Yeah, he was crying. How hard is that to do in front of camera?”  I thought the cry still showed what his wife meant to him. He still loved his wife even after all the frustration she caused.

In result to the land development, there’s a couple different ways that it could have gone. That I thought was a better part of the movie when King announces his decision.

The ending I had to think about for a while. I think in the end, the director Alexander Payne was trying to show a family just trying to pull themselves together and to be a family again.

The one nomination I thought was missing from the list was cinematography. Phedon Papamichael showed a beautiful landscape that is Hawaii. He just didn’t show what tourists see, he also showed where the families live which I think a lot of people forget. It’s not just a tropical location… it’s people’s homes.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor in a Leading Role: George Clooney
  3. Best Directing: Alexander Payne
  4. Best Film Editing
  5. Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

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