Set in Hawaii and based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, THE DESCENDANTS is the journey of Matt King (George Clooney) over the course of just a few days, but days in which the last few years of his life come into question. His adverterous wife is injured in a speed boat accident during the same time that Matt has to deal with a family decision that will affect the entire state of Hawaii. Beyond the immediate tragedy of having a wife in a coma, Matt soon finds out that she’s been keeping secrets from him and it calls into question everything he thought was important in his life.
Matt is also a father and he has to deal with his 10- and 17-year old daughters, children he’s really taken a pass on parenting for the last few years. He has work to regain their love and support as they move forward in this new life. Allegations and discoveries threaten to break apart what’s left of the family and the larger extended family issue is causing pressure as well and his two worlds collide with the discovery of infidelity.
The film is touching and feels real and it portrays a family in crisis. The girls are played phenomenally by two very talented young actors, Amara Miller and Shailene Woodley, and while I love George, he didn’t stray far from any of his previous roles. In fact, many times I felt I was watching “O Brother, Where Art Thou.” Especially the scene where Matt goes running to the neighbor’s house in boat shoes. Other than that one complaint, the film is touching and for someone like me who’s never been to Hawaii, it shows quite a bit of the islands and beyond the tourist areas and a bit about the people. I wish there was more here, beyond the flowered shirts and shorts.
THE DESCENDANTS Blu-ray Features:
Deleted Scenes with introductions by the director; Working with Alexander; The Real Descendants; Working with Water; Everybody Loves George; Hawaiian Style; Casting; Waiting for the Light; The World Parade – Hawaii (Silent Film); and Music Videos – “Will I Ever See You Again,” “Postcards from Paradise,” and “Honolulu’s Whisper. It also includes a conversation with George Clooney and Alexander Payne and a digital copy of the film.
THE DESCENDANTS DVD Features:
Working with Alexander, Everybody Loves George, and Hawaiian Style
Street Date: March 13, 2012
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