Home » News
Home » News

Review: 'Descendants' offers humor, heartbreak in Hawaii

Published March 12, 2012 9:55 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.


DVD •Alexander Payne directs finely-tuned stories of emotionally broken people — from Paul Giamatti's wine-loving neurotic of "Sideways" to Jack Nicholson's drifting widower in "About Schmidt." In "The Descendants" (for which Payne and co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, adapting Kaui Hart Hemmings' novel, won an Oscar), the central figure is Matt King (George Clooney), a Hawaii lawyer whose family's big land deal is interrupted when his wife is put in a coma after a speedboat accident.

As "the backup parent," Matt tries to reconnect with his daughters, and is floored when his oldest, Alexandra (Shailene Woodley), tells him Mom was cheating on him. The script finds the humor and heartbreak in Matt's situation, as he pursues his wife's lover (Matthew Lillard) and comes to grips with her imminent death. Great performances (including Judy Greer as Lillard's wife) and a sure sense of place make "The Descendants" a transcendent American movie.

— Sean P. Means






Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
comments powered by Disqus