USA: Alexander Payne, 2011
THE DESCENDANTS has become one of those films that are never going to live up to the hype that surrounds them due to the frenzied acclaim that the annual awards season brings. It does however continue the recent trend of popular studio endorsed 'American Indie' genre fims. I'd slide it in at the bottom of these 'Hollywood indies' below the likes of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, SUNSHINE CLEANING, JUNO et al.
George Clooney is George Clooney in performance and voice-over, a slightly alienating technique used heavily throughout the film. Alexander Payne's direction is always evident if not obvious in keeping with his past quirky and low-key dramatic works. Without question the real find of the film is young actress Shailene Woodley, who gives a superb performance as Clooney's eldest daughter and confidant. Ultimately though, THE DESCENDANTS isn't as humorous and breezy as the trailers suggest nor as dramatically moving as the subject material deserves.
The Count's Verdict: THE DESCENDANTS is an unremarkable 3-Star film you'd be happy to stumble upon by chance but will disappoint now due to the awards season hype.