The Descendants (2011)
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash (Screenplay) Kaui Hart Hemmings (Novel)
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Beau Bridges.
Story: Matt King is in the middle of selling his ancestor's land when he learns his wife has been seriously injured in a boating accident. Now he must re-connect with his two daughter's while also finding out his wife was having an affair with another man on the island.
Verdict: Alexander Payne manages to flip the whole misconception of Hawaii as one large luxury resort and plants an emotional story arc that somehow doesn't feel misplaced in the setting.
George Clooney plays Matt King, a land baron who is in the middle of closing out a deal to sell the land handed down to him from his royal ancestors. During this sale his wife is placed in a coma from a boating accident which sets off a chain of events that define his decision on the sale. George Clooney is at his best as a man juggling multiple emotional demands, always seeming to be at that balancing point of losing it completely but never losing control. Payne lets us follow the ebb and flow of this emotional arc as Matt struggles to deal with his wife and his kids and in the end you become invested of which decision he decides to make. This was fleetingly shown in Sideways but on a grander scale, dealing with more than one person at once. The Descendents runs along the same path throughout the film, never straying from Matt leaving the audience emotional waiting on his every move.
A sweet movie with few laughs but also no tear-jerker, a perfect film to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon.