Thursday, December 29, 2011

9. The Descendants

Based on a novel of Kaui Hart Hemmings, this film “the descendants” tells the history of Matt King (George Clooney) who is not exactly a good father or a good husband. Matt King has to give the decisive vote to sell his family land in Hawaii. It is in fact a terrible moment, because his wife Elizabeh has been in a comma for 23 days after an accident. It is another tremendous decision to disconnect her from the vital tubes. Matt (George Clooney) finds out that the paralyzed Liz was planning to leave him and divorce him for her lover (Matthew Lillard) whom the betrayed wishes to know.This ignored adultery is revealed by Alex (Shailene Woodley), his 17 year old sarcastic daughter, whom he never took the time to understand.
In summary with so many marriage and paternal complications, it is surprise to see how the director, Alexander Payne, maintains lightness of this astute comedy with an argument that another director would have intensified with almost tragic narrative.

Matt King is terrified to become responsible of Alex and her 10 year old sister (Amara Miller), but with their help he undertakes the search of the elusive Lillard. Irony is vital to observe in proximity as well as from a distance this cornucopia of Cuckolds this offers Clooney the most ambivalent character in his career, at moments with almost perverse temptation to cry with outbursts of laughter in a moment where Payne has the supreme tact to do a take where Matt is facing backwards.

Matt creates believes he has control of his life or at least of its family. The supposed descendants assume ascendant dominion in a future where tha contradictions abound. Alexandra cruelly removes her content father’s blindfolds, as she shows him that to live on a lie it is the equivalent to die on installments.

In Alexander Payne’s filmography, The Descendants surpasses “Election” and “Sideways”, by its absolute control of the cast. Woodley, the young boyfriend (Nick Krause) and the grouchy grandfather played by Robert Forster steal scenes from Clooney, adding spice to the situations. In the sunny places of Hawaii, we are allowed to turn this story around and turn it into an almost mocking melodrama. 

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