The Descendents–Movie Review

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4 Stars

The Descendents has to be considered a comedy-drama since it deals in a straightforward way with some fairly grim events, yet manages to find a fair amount of humor in them. The important thing about it though is that it is amazingly well written and acted.

The protagonist is Matt King (George Clooney), a Hawaiian lawyer who has been too wrapped up in business to pay much attention to his family. This changes when his wife (Patricia Hastie) is injured in a boating accident that leaves her in a coma. It is up to Matt to figure out how to deal with his troubled 10-year-old daughter Scottie (Amara Miller), his equally troubled 17-year-old daughter Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) and her moronic boyfriend (Nick Krause).

Adding to his troubles is a shallow materialistic father-in-law (Robert Forster) and a horde of cousins who are expecting him to make them rich by selling a huge priceless tract of undeveloped land that has been in the family for generations.

Gradually he learns that he has even more problems, centering around a mysterious real estate agent named Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard).

The movie includes some wrenching emotional scenes and a surprising number of laughs, with an ending that is both sad and hopeful.