The film followed the story of Matt King, played by George Clooney, as he attempted to reconnect with his children after his wife fell into a coma after a boating accident. In addition to the emotional trials he and his family went through, King was forced to deal with additional pressure from his family in regarding to the fate of a parcel of land that had been in the family for many generations. And if all of that wasn’t enough, he learned that his wife had been cheating on him.
True, it all seems to be a very complicated, a very emotional tale but Payne's strength has always been to find charming, comedic moments within the trials and tribulations of everyday life. The Descendants is no exception, and Clooney shines in both roles, the comedic and the more emotionally-driven.
The story itself is complemented by the film’s different portrayal of Hawaii, where the commercial views of "paradise" are tossed to the side, revealing the crowded, aging cities that we never see. Even Clooney's character helped to amplify this: "Paradise can go fuck itself." But the setting relates incredibly well to the situations that the characters find themselves in. To the outside world it's paradise. On the inside, paradise is the last thing on anyone's mind.
The character portrayal by the actors was brilliant; from Clooney as a family man, to Matthew Lillard as a home wrecker. Clooney's on-screen daughters kept him on his toes, egging him on as he tried to build himself back into their lives. No performance was Oscar-worthy, but they were incredibly sincere and balanced, boosting the credibility of the actors and the film
Alexander Payne set the bar high for himself, and in my opinion, he exceeded my expectations. I wouldn't consider The Descendants an Ultra-rated “film”; it proved that a motion picture doesn't need to ooze artistic merit and that is why I give The Descendants a rating of Movie 9.