The Descendants is getting rave reviews. Critics claim George Clooney is at his best and will definitely be Oscar-nominated. I am sure he will and the movie may even be as well. So it is with high expectations of a real-life type of drama with a touch of comedy (done by the same team as Sideways) that I went to see The Descendants.
George Clooney plays a father who finds himself the sole guardian of his two daughters after his wife has an accident and is in a coma. He is clueless as to how to deal with his two girls, one 10 and one 17, that he does not know all that well. They must come together though as Matt King decides whether or not to sell his family’s ancestral lands and learns that his wife had been having an affair.
Do not get me wrong, I like a real-life type of poignant movies as much as the next person but somehow I felt detached from these characters. I think the problem comes down to George Clooney. If an actor like Matt Damon had been the lead it might have been different. Clooney is a little cold in his acting, which works as a politician in The Ides of March but not as a father whose life is unraveling.
Clooney’s eyes look untouched as he goes through the motions but does not seem to register the emotions. The close-ups of his face show this especially and it is a bit disappointing. It seems that the movie may have been overhyped by the critics. It is a good movie, but a great one? I am not so sure. The girls are very good, though. Shailene Woodley shows her acting chops and accomplishes what I wish Clooney could have. We can actually see the pain in her eyes.