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Review: The Descendants Beats Expectations, Not Oscar Worthy (For The Most Part)

Clooney and Woodley Team Up In An Amazing Pair Of Roles

The Truth About Music makes every attempt to keep spoilers out of our movie reviews. But, if you’re a stickler for spoilers, I’d move on. If you’re ok learning about some basic plot structure, then you’re safe to read on.

As January hits, there are always a few dozen movies to see that will have a large impact when the Academy Awards arrive. Cheaters (like us) will look to the Golden Globe nominations for some guidance. Snagging three major nominations, “The Descendants” was a must see and we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

The first thing that you need to know is that this movie isn’t for everyone (as with all movies). It’s that awkward movie that bridges the gap between mainstream and indie. Filled with unimaginable tragedy, the premise of this movie is incredibly fresh. There was plenty to love in the story and the casting was quite brilliant.

Surprisingly, the movie had a very happy go lucky comedy line that ran parallel to the dark theme. To an extent, the comedy could even be considered slap stick in nature, drawing laughs from people being punched in the face. It put just enough of a smile on your face to get you through the depressing moments. The comedic moments felt like a family member who can always make a joke to lighten the mood. Even if it comes off as mildly inappropriate, it’s still a needed distraction.

Although the character development won’t blow anyone away, the acting is incredible. Starting at the very top, George Clooney delivers one of his best roles to date. His emotional roller coaster is felt with each closeup of his quivering face. In a way, he drags the audience along. When he’s feeling sad, you felt sad. When he’s smiling, you’re smiling. It’s a recipe for success.

Clooney Could Find Himself In Serious Oscar Contention In 2012. Partly Because Of This Role. Party Due To Lack Of Competition.

Shailene Woodley delivers the movies largest surprise. Playing Clooney’s daughter, Woodley’s renegade attitude fits perfectly inside this stories heart sinking theme. Her emotions come through wonderfully as you journey through this families ordeal. Woodley and Clonney’s play off of each other should earn them both a realistic shot at an Oscar in 2012.

The most intriguing element in “The Descendants” is that the antagonist spends the entire film in a coma. Unable to defend herself, you get to witness the rarity of internal battles taking place within someones head, instead of the more easy to follow external battle. This unique element is what makes Clooney and Woodley’s roles so much more important. They’re essentially fighting both sides of a battle.

Many people have jumped the Golden Globe gun and are already considering this movie a lock for an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. While it will most likely be nominated, winning seems like a stretch. The individual performances outweighed the movie as a whole and although it was excellent, it wasn’t Best Picture worthy.

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