Bottom Line: Like the midday Hawaiian breezes that inhabit the locales of this slice-of-life film, THE DESCENDANTS moves with a cool, calm and soothing charm. It’s a sharp, hopeful, heartfelt, compassionate, touching, heartbreaking and occasionally funny (don’t let the quirky commercials mislead you) story of one man’s attempt at letting go of the past and coming to grips with his uncertain future. Add in a career-defining directorial effort from Alexander Payne plus a depth-filled, career-high performance from George Clooney and you’ve got Oscar on the hook. Look for Academy Award nods for (at the very least) Picture, Director, Actor and Screenwriting.
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Judy Greeg, Amara Miller, Matthew Lillard and Beau Bridges
Directed by: Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election, About Schmidt)
Running time: 115 minutes
Story: From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, set in Hawaii, The Descendants is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family's land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries. -- (C) Fox Searchlight