I’m starting to believe that George Clooney is utterly incapable of giving bad performances. As always, Clooney knocks one out of the park in The Descendants, a should-be heavy film that handles the darkest material in a delicate, purely positive and upbeat manner. Instead of leaving you feeling bogged down and depressed, it sort of ends up in feel-good territory.
Clooney plays Matt King, the “back-up parent” in a stagnant marriage that’s simply going through the motions. When his wife suffers coma-inducing head trauma during a boating accident, he’s forced to take the reigns of his family and become the sole parent. Upon learning that she will never recover and her living will requires the doctors to take her off life support, his life is turned upside down as he battles with having to tell their two daughters.
When he breaks the news to their older daughter, she in return also breaks bad news – his wife was having an affair and had planned to divorce Matt and run away with the new guy. Taking into account these two topics – death of a spouse and being cheated on by a spouse, you would expect The Descendants to be too negative for enjoyment – but in reality, the opposite happens.
Instead of freaking out, being angry and wanting to anihilate the man she was sleeping with, he looks at things from a different perspective and does the opposite. Not a negative word is spoken. It’s never hurtful nor mean. Sure, the circumstances are sad, but Matt gets through them with grace, optimism and fairness.
Counterbalancing the mass of family flicks out there this week is The Descendants, a genuinly touching and moving film. In every way, it’s going to be a major contended at the Academy Awards. This is one comedic drama that you don’t want to miss.
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight