As an embarrassed newbie to Writer/Director Alexander Payne’s work (yes, even Sideways) I didn’t really know what to expect from The Descendents.
The film centres around Matt King (George Clooney) as he comes to terms with his slightly estranged wife being in a coma and being suddenly solely responsible for his two daughters, all while negotiating the sale of Hawaiian land which would make him and his extended family multimillionaires. On the surface this could have been difficult to engage with and even harder to watch and come out of the cinema smiling. However this is exactly what Payne managed to achieve for me, while elements were undoubtedly dark and fairly dismal, what really made the film for me was the spark of light heartedness from a family dealing with incredibly difficult circumstances.
I found myself both upset and laughing throughout, and thought the entire film was extremely touching. Something that was certainly aided by some really excellent acting, not just by George Clooney, but by the daughters and father-in-law particularly. All in all, this is definitely a film I would recommend, and not just because of the array of excellent Hawaiian shirts!