According to the cover, The Descendants is about a guy called Matt King (George Clooney) who is “an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki”.
The problem is, for all his muttering, despondent and basically irritating behaviour, Clooney’s character never changes his outlook on life. He never grows any balls, he never even comes close to understanding why his wife and children were becoming increasingly distant. He basically plays a rich white dude with his head stuck up his arse, going through an emotional moment in his life.
As far as entertainment value goes, there is zero. The one character who might have offered some comedic relief, King’s elder daughter’s stoner boyfriend ends up being more of a distraction than the bikini wearing culture of the islands, and only manages to reinforce our idea that King doesn’t have a clue.
Of course, no matter what I think of the film, it becomes apparent that I’m not the intended demographic when I’m told by my wife what a wonderful movie that was. And she’s not even a Clooney fan. Maybe writer/director Alexander Payne has created a story that portrays husbands and fathers the way women perceive them, but if this is the case, it’s not a good thing for us husbands and fathers.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read