The Descendants

D: Alexander Payne
Fox Searchlight (Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor & Jim Burke)
USA 🇺🇸 2011
115 mins


W: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash [based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings]
DP: Phedon Papamichael
Ed: Kevin Tent
Mus: Rolfe Kent

George Clooney (Matt King), Beau Bridges (Hugh), Shailene Woodley(Alexandra King), Judy Greer (Julie Speer), Matthew Lillard (Brian Speer), Robert Forster (Scott)

Whenever George Clooney does his Cary Grant act, his performance depends heavily on the quality of the screenplay... 
The Descendants has an excellent screenplay, co-written by Alexander Payne whose movies always seem to be critically adored and who I view as a more dramatic, less neurotic version of Woody Allen.
The movie follows a lawyer (Clooney) whose world is thrown into turmoil when his wife is in a coma following an accident and he has to reconnect with his rebellious daughters while completing a business deal which could see his family earn millions from a real estate deal. The script finely balances tender dramatic moments with humour and the performances from the ensemble cast are quite terrific, especially Shailene Woodley as the eldest daughter. I think this is George Clooney's career best performance and director Payne brings a Hawaii to the screen which isn't all luaus, tropical cocktails & eternal paradise, but just another part of the world where people experience the same dramas as everyone else.

George Clooney & Shailene Woodley in The Descendants
George Clooney & Shailene Woodley in The Descendants