There are plenty of examples of films through out history that, for me at least, can be looked at as beautiful pieces of art work and sometimes these pieces of art work can be appreciated, but not always enjoyed. There are many times when I have a complete respect for a film and what a filmmaker has accomplished, but that’s not to say the film was completely entertaining. That was just the case with a film that came out just months ago, The Tree of Life. That’s a fantastic film, but it’s not one that kept me thoroughly gripped through out. This is partly the case with The Descendants, which was a much more entertaining film and while it was pretty well made, it simply didn’t grab me as I’m sure it will for most.
This in no way, shape or form is to imply that I didn’t like The Descendants, because I did. I’m merely stating that the film didn’t offer me quite the escape that other films have this year. That being said, The Descendants was a pretty great film that I will certainly watch again. It was a very intelligent and mature film that was completely aware of where it was going and the more mellow tone of the story truly worked because every character had heart and soul.
The Descendants follows working stiff Matthew King as his his wife has just fallen into a coma and now has to take care of his daughters. The film takes a dramatic turn when Matt finds that his wife is going to die and that she had been cheating on him. The events happen to also coincide with a choice Matt is figuring out on whether or not to sell a piece of land that has been passed down through his family for generations. There are times where that story is heavy hitting and the moments work well, but for the most part the story and light the relationship between Matt and his daughters is very entertaining.
The acting in this film is very captivating. Amara Miller and Shailene Woodley were fantastic as Matt’s completely different daughters. In terms of Clooney, this was one of his best performances. I haven’t seen him perform this well in a long time and that’s not to say he hasn’t been performing to his full ability as of late, that’s to say he was pretty brilliant in The Descendants. His character was defined by good writing and was made a reality by a great performance.
Other than a few lackluster moments, including an out of place wipe transition nearing the climax, the film was directed very well. There wasn’t anything that was flashy or over dramatized. What you saw was what you got and what we got was a great movie. The pacing for this film kept you intrigued and- aside from an ending that dragged a little bit- it was hard not to be entertained through out. Overall, it was a great film and one I hope to watch again.