The Descendants is an adaptation of the novel written by Kaui Hart Hemmings. It is about Matt King a middle-aged husband, lawyer and a father of two girls living in Hawaii. His wife Elizabeth had a boating accident which sends her to an irreversible coma. This event made him to reconcile with his two daughters while being forced to make a decision to sell the family’s track of land inherited from their ancestors with Hawaiian royal blood.
While the wife is comatose, Matt learned from his wayward elder daughter Alexandra that his wife was having an affair with a realtor associated with the selling of the land. The extra marital affair made Alexandra hostile to Elizabeth even when she was in coma.
The extra marital affair news sets off Matt to neighboring Kaua’I to confront his wife’s lover, together with his two daughters and Alexandra’s friend Sid, a goofy and laid back boy. There he confronted the wife’s realtor lover.
Eventually, Matt decided to take Elizabeth off life support and also decided not to sell the ancestral land. Matt is like most of us, he is decent, but he is prone to anger and jealousy but eventually makes the right decision.
There are some ridiculous scenes like when Matt takes off in a fury to his neighbor friends when he learned of the infidelity. Also ridiculous when he vented his frustrations to his comatose wife.
The movie is directed by Alexander Payne. Just like the other movies of Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) it is a combination of comedy and drama about a beleaguered man. It is a picture of mixed emotions: tender, tough, observant and some slapsticks. It is about dealing with challenges like infidelity and death.
The movie pace is measured, not too slow not too fast. There are lots of tearjerker and some funny scenes from beginning to end. It is quite entertaining and a bit interesting.
George Clooney stars as Matt King.