Screening Room – THE DESCENDANTS

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(KTSF by Sean Au)

A man who has long neglected his family seeks to reconnect with his daughters as his wife lies in a coma.

Matt King (George Clooney) has been the backup parent all this time working hard to provide for his family while keeping intact his inheritance. A boating accident leaves his wife  in a coma, entrusting the backup parent with full responsibility for his two daughters. At the same time, he is representing his family in selling the land that they had inherited.

Matt plans to inform the couple’s family and friends his intention to pull the plug on his wife, as requested in her will, but learns from his elder daughter that his wife has been cheating on him. Matt faces the predicament of his life.

It is these difficult situations that the characters have to go through, making tough, yet unpredictable decisions in the process, that has become the trademark of the works of Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt). We laugh and cry with the characters who face problems that we all care about, and we see a part of ourselves in not just the main characters but the supporting ones as well.

In one scene,  Matt’s daughter Alexandra (Shailey Woodley) explains the reason she had a falling out with her mother. It was because she found out about the affair, her accusation of neglect, which was accompanied by deep caring for her father.

She asks, “You didn’t even suspect, right ? It disgusted me too. You’re always so busy.”

The problems confronting Matt seem to come like  an avalanche, yet viewers become invested with each problem as one  compounds on another. This is especially played by George Clooney with such earnestness and sensitivity, making this the best performance in his career. Long after the credit roll, we are left with a desire to know what happens to Matt and those around him.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

 

(Copyright 2011 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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