Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture Nominee – ‘The Descendants’ (2011)

Starring George Clooney, Shailene Woodley & Beau Bridges

Rating 10/10

This film has George Clooney, it is set in Hawaii and is about family stuff. Need I go on? Everyone can relate to this story. Whether you are a son, daughter, husband, wife, grandparent you know what goes on in families and it is often not very pretty.

Matt King (Clooney) is a lawyer with 2 kids, Alex (Woodley) and Scottie (Amara Miller). Oh and there’s a wife but she’s had a boating accident and is in a coma. Scene set ok! King is in a frenzy. He’s trying to work out what to do with the family land that will please ALL his cousins as well as deal with his wife as well as deal with his 2 crazy daughters!

Then he finds out that his beloved wife has been cheating on him and his whole world crashes down on him. It’s a flight or fight kinda thing and he decides to go down fighting… with his crazy daughters and Alex’s even crazier friend, Sid (Nick Krause).

He seeks out ‘the other man’ and basically the rest of the movie is working out how to say goodbye to his cheating wife in a healthy way while keeping the family afloat, dealing with his wife’s lover and the big deal that is still on the table.

It doesn’t sound like much but there is so much meat in this film. Relationships are in tatters even before the boating accident. Father to daughters, daughter to daughter, mother to daughter/s, husband to wife, man to father-in-law, man to friend, cousin to cousin, it’s all happening undercover. That is, until the accident when the truth is finally revealed.

I loved that the teenagers in this film go from being rebellious and ‘trouble’ to honest and wise. Both Alex and Sid help Matt to find peace and perspective in total chaos. It’s like they’re finally being heard and valued by the adults around them. Sid’s honesty, especially, is priceless.

We all know Clooney is going to give a solid performance. They didn’t have to give him an Oscar for us to know that, his work speaks for itself. But it was the performances of the ‘kids’ that was so impressive. There were many emotional moments and all their performances were solid. They made the sad bits so moving.

This is a great film. Hawaii is always a star and I just love the place. If Australia sank tomorrow, that’s where I would live. This is a beautiful, honest, deep movie that is a keeper and that’s why it was nominated.

The Descendants Trivia:

  • Budget under $20,000,000
  • There is an island in Hawaii that has been run by the same family since 1863, just like Matt’s family.
  • In the novel, the character Scottie wears a t-shirt with the words ‘Mrs Clooney’ on it.
  • The counsellor is wearing a name tag with her real name on it.
  • When Matt talks about not spoiling his kids with too much money, this is based on a real quote from ba-squillionaire Warren Buffett who said, “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing.”
  • The novel’s author, Kaui Hart Hemmings makes a cameo as Brian’s assistant on the phone.
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