Say Aloha to "The Descendants"


Say Aloha to "The Descendants" the 2011 Film by Alexander Payne starring George Clooney and Shailene Woodley.

Set on the islands of Hawaii I love the opening narration by Clooney's character Matt King that goes something like, just because you live in a tropical paradise doesn't mean that your immune from the problems of everyday life.  Matt is a real estate lawyer who has deep ties to the island, his ancestors go way back to the founding fathers.  He's the trustee of the largest parcel of pristine undeveloped land in the state and him and his cousins are poised for a huge payday.  The trust expires in 7 years so the motivation to sell is there but can he go through with it and have the awe-inspiring scenery turned into another high dollar resort.  Although this problem is currently secondary due to the fact that his wife Elizabeth was recently involved in a boating accident and lies in a coma from which she may never recover.

Matt has been an absent father to his two daughters, 10-year-old Scottie and 17-year-old Alexandra (Woodley), prior to his wife's accident and now must try to care for them.  Both come with their own set of problems, Scottie frequently acts out at school, while Alex is currently at a boarding school after her unruly behavior.  Upon hearing the news that Elizabeth's condition is permanent Matt must break the news to his girls and help them through the tough times ahead.  If that's not enough he receives another big blow when he finds out Elizabeth was having an affair and planning to get a divorce.  Matt is forced to re-examine his life and priorities.  He's a good-looking successful older man who is seeing his world fall apart and trying his best to stay afloat. This is the source of most of the humor along with Alex's surfer dude boyfriend Sid.

Clooney got a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for this role, not to mention launching the film career of Shailene Woodley.  Her portrayal of the troubled and angst-ridden Alex was well written as well as acted.  She is more than just the stereotypical angry teen.  She's a strong and multi-faceted young woman who is living her life to the fullest, just like her mother.  All of the acting performances were exceptional and the script was phenomenal.  As with "Sideways" Payne raked in another Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.  The film is based on the book by Kaui Hart Hemmings.  The Descendants is a well grounded and real experience and I recommend seeing it.   Well to anybody reading this Mahalo.