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Tuesday August 22nd 2017

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The Descendants

“ The Descendants”(2011)

*****      

An Hominem Enterprises Drama/Comedy

Cast: George Clooney (Matt or Matthew King), Shailene Woodley (Alexandra or Alexis King), Amara Miller (Scottie King), Patricia  Hastie (Elizabeth King),Beau Bridges (Cousin Hugh), Matthew Lillard (Brian Speer), Judy Greer (Julie Speer).Running time: 115 minutes.  Director:Alexander Payne.

Heartfelt film that presses the drama pushing what’s deemed a comedy too, to the back burner.  As such, it’s just as well the drama takes center stage because in my view–in this film–it’s a better movie.

All of  the breathtaking cinematography by Phedon Papamichael takes place in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii or nearby islands.  Standing on what is one of the world’s stunning paradises is George Clooney, as Matthew King in an unfortunate dilemma: a wife Liz (Patricia Hastie) in a coma from a water-skiing accident and either selling or keeping a great estate  he inherited from his great-grandmother , a native princess married a non-native (haole) businessman.

Matt has two daughters Scottie (Amara Miller)and Alexis (Shailene Woodley), 7 and 17, respectively, misbehaving and  sometimes mean-spirited towards their dad.   I hardly feel empathy as the girls on a number of levels,but as the movie tracks forward I begin ease my frustrations about these wayward 21st century kids.  The older daughter shocks Matt with the revelations his wife was involved in an illicit relationship with another man on the island before her tragic accident.

Stunned by what Alexis has just revealed, Matt sets on a mission to find the mystery adulterer, a man of considerable financial success on the island.

Alexander Payne meshes winding stories,  usually quasi- or-complete road movies such as “About Schmidt(2002(and “Sideways”(2004),with “{The Descendants”with artistic skills.

George Woodley’s character has difficult decisions to make such as what to do with his wife on a respirator and if he should, with conjunction with his cousins, sell the land they inherited generations before.

What’s more, George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and the whole cast really (Amara Miller never acted before until “The Descendants”), are superb. George Clooney’s performance is Oscar worthy and Shailene Woodley should be considered for a nomination for best supporting actress.

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