By Joshua Madden
“The Descendants” is receiving high praise, having already won the award for Best Picture — Drama at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony. It was this past weekend, however, when George Clooney, the shining star of the film, and his descendants finally made their way to theaters in Waco.
The film follows Matt King (Clooney) as he deals with his two rambunctious daughters who have come home to see their mother, who is in a coma.
It is quickly revealed that her condition is very serious and that she might not survive.
At the same time, King is dealing with his cousins who wish to sell Hawaiian land that they have inherited from their ancestors who were Hawaiian royalty. King struggles to balance these two important events in his family life as they both become increasingly intense and time-consuming.
The film works because of the strength of Clooney’s performance — “The Descendants” alternates between comedy and drama frequently, occasionally even within the same scene, but it’s Clooney who makes it credible. He is believable in the film at all times, despite the fact that “The Descendants” never seems to be quite sure what type of film it actually wants to be.
To be fair, the screenplay is well-written and provides for some honest and believable dialogue. Even in the parts where the pace of the film slows down, the film never actually feels slow. This is primarily because of supporting performances from Nick Krause and the always excellent Robert Forster, who make the most of the lines that the screenplay gives them.
Those who are interested in something besides Oscar buzz will find something to enjoy in “The Descendants.”
It may get the award for being 2011’s best film and, although I would argue it’s inferior to “Drive,” you may find that it deserves the accolades it’s gotten.