Film review: The Descendants (three out of five stars)

(PG) 115mins

Tuesday, 31st January 2012, 8:51 am

Director: Alexander Payne

Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller

I MAY be going out on a limb here but overall I found this film rather less than I was expecting.

It is being heralded for all kinds of awards and I can certainly see why George Clooney is in the queue for best actor.

But my initial reaction was one of disappointment.

The theme of loss and ensuring that you leave behind something worthwhile are explored fully, but at times I felt the message was somewhat forced and overdone.

It may well be the case a second viewing might help reinforce the more positive parts of the film but some apects of the plot I felt took the obvious route.

Set on the islands of Hawaii, the story starts after Matt King’s (George Clooney) wife is seriously injured in a boating accident and left in a coma.

However, worse is to come for Matt following a startling discovery.

He is also struggling to re-connect with his two daughters who relied entirely on their mother.

Add to all this, Matt has the final decision whether to sell off a family-owned beautiful piece of a nearby island or attempt to keep it for future generations.

It seems a bit strange, though, that the movie opens with Matt saying Hawaii has the same problems as everywhere else, as if to say this isn’t a film about a very rich guy on an island paradise.

Clooney holds the movie together, showing deep pathos and comic touches that quite rightly put him in the runing for an award.

Full marks also go to his ‘daughters’ (Woodley and Miller) who have a lot of time in front of the camera.

It’s certainly a decent film - but a classic? I’m not so sure.

I’d say go and make up your own mind.

PS: For those who aren’t too keen on bad language, the PG certificate is for liberal use of one four-letter word.

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley Cineworld Crawley.