+ Best of the Year: #1
+ Best Dramedy of the Year
+ Best Hawaii Movie of the Year
|Star George Clooney and some Hawaiian ambiance on the poster for Alexander Payne's The Descendants|
Matt King is a big landowner in Hawaii, whose wife gets into a boating accident that leaves her in a coma. It turns out SPOILER that she was cheating on him. And that she is now dying. With two difficult daughters and an unrelated, hard decision to make, Matt has a lot on his plate.
George Clooney (Up in the Air (2009)) is outstanding as Matt King, his probably best role to date, and he gets impressive co-actors here in Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars (2014)) and Amara Miller (A Merry Christmas Miracle (2014)) as his daughters, as well as great performances from veterans Beau Bridges (Night Crossing (1982)) and Robert Forster (Jackie Brown (1997)).
They all come together in master filmmaker, co-writer-director Alexander Payne's (Citizen Ruth (1996)) adaptation of Hawaiian writer Kaui Hart Hemmings' (The Possibilities (2014)) 2007 novel, written with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Way Way Back (2013), both). Their well-written, smart dramedy script won Descendants its only Oscar (out of 5 nominations).
The film's balance is more drama than comedy; it abounds with touching moments, fine, subtle photography by great cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (Sideways (2004)), lots of great original Hawaiian music and exciting Hawaiian locations.
The Descendants has more heart and more meanings than Payne's best film before this, Sideways. It is painfully good and full of humanity, formidable in every way, a masterpiece and certainly among the year's best films.
Payne is not out of the bushes with another project yet to follow his great Nebraska (2013).
Alexander Payne: 2013 in films - according to Film Excess [UPDATED I]
Nebraska (2013) or, Father and Son
2011 in films and TV-series - according to Film Excess [UPDATED II]
2011 in films - according to Film Excess
About Schmidt (2002) or, Dear Ndugu ...
|George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller all give resounding performances in Alexander Payne's The Descendants|
Watch the unfortunately not very good official trailer for the film here
Cost: 20 mil. $
Box office: 177.2 mil. $
= Big hit
[Descendants became a sleeper hit in the US, where it racked up 82.6 mil. $ (47 % of the total gross) in its 156 days long run. It was received with enthusiasm by public and critics alike in many countries, making it onto many top 10 lists of 2011.]
What do you think of The Descendants?
What is your favorite Payne film?