The Descendants (2011)

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The Descendants is a film about a man named Matthew King (played by George Clooney) whose wife is put in a coma from a freak boating accident. Through the course of the story he must deal with his wife's imminent death, his two daughters' reckless behaviors, news of an affair his wife was in the midst of before her coma, and all the while, he must handle business affairs with his extended family over the selling of extensive Hawaiian lands (a decision that majorly effects the residents of Hawaii and its environment).

This is a gorgeous, sensitive, and humorous look into the importance of family and heritage. It is an extremely human movie that deals with life, death, love, pain, impulse, restraint, and forgiveness. As he has done in past films, director Alexander Payne uses setting to its utmost potential to tell a story and to give it a specific feel while dealing with universal themes. A distinctively Hawaiian score adds to the richness of the setting and mood.

George Clooney gives a rather typical George Clooney performance, but we see the best of him. He is ideal for this role. He delivers a complexly restrained yet emotional and occasionally comedic performance as his character strives to keep his family together while faced with many difficult trials. The growing bond that Clooney's character develops with his two daughters is wonderful to watch largely due to Shailene Woodley's naturally bold performance as Clooney's older daughter.