The Descendants: worth the Oscar nods
By Lindsay Maher
Chameleon Staff Writer
Nominated for an Oscar in best picture, actor in a leading role, direction and writing (adapted screenplay), The Descendants had a lot to live up to when I sat down to watch it. For the most part, I would say it exceeded my expectations.
Based in Hawaii, The Descendants tells the story of Matt King, George Clooney, as he struggles with the death of his wife and taking care of his distant daughters.
King discovers his wife was having an affair before the accident and much of the movie then focuses on finding the “other man,” accompanied by his seventeen-year-old, Alex, and ten-year-old, Scotty. He does this all while making a community changing decision with his family’s land.
At first King seems like a prick, barely involved in his kids’ lives, not knowing the simplest of details of who they are. But Clooney plays his character brilliantly, bringing us to sympathize with him and the issues he must face in the film.
Shailene Woodley, who comes from of Secret Life of the American Teenager fame, plays his eldest daughter Alex. I expected her character to be the same sweet girl I’m used to, but she plays her rough-around-the-edges role quite convincingly opposite Clooney.
Along with the acting, there are many elements that make this more than just your average film.
The light Hawaiian music that provides the soundtrack to the movie brings in a lightheartedness that balances some of the darker scenes and keeps us aware of where we are as all the drama unfolds.
There are plenty of moments in the movie that provide a break from the tragedy. While I usually find that when a movie attempts this kind of combination it feels forced and unnatural, this one felt just right.
However, there are a few elements of the plot that seem a bit far fetched and not well thought out.
One of the most glaring is the character of Sid, Alex’s boyfriend, who tags along to events much too private for a friend to be a part of. Even with these odd additions to the plot, I found the movie extremely well made and entertaining to watch.
So, if in the coming weeks before the Oscars you feel like seeing one of the films that received multiple nominations, be sure to put The Descendants at the top of your list.
To contact Lindsay Maher, email her at email@example.com.