I've expressed my dislike for indie style dramas quite a few times over the years, movies where somewhat likeable characters bore me by not doing much except talking about things in a slightly witty manner. I was hoping The Descendants wouldn't disappoint in the same way, and it certainly does not.
George Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer who lives in Hawaii who is close to selling off some family land for a considerable sum of money, which would be split with his many cousins. Unfortunately, his wife has been in a terrible accident, so it's also his duty to look after his two daughters, Scottie (Amara Miller) and Alex (Shailene Woodley), both of whom are not quite the best behaved. But as secrets are revealed and new circumstances come to light, Matt is forced to embark on a few journeys with his daughters, trying to mend his relationship with them and other members of the family.
Sure, the premise doesn't sound like much, estranged father spending time with his kids, but The Descendants pulls it off really well. The relationship between Matt and Alex is particularly wonderful, and both actors are utterly convincing through a range of emotions. Even the smallest parts in the movie are beautifully played, I couldn't really find fault with anyone.
Sure, it can be a bit of a slow burner at times, but The Descendants is a thought provoking drama with some great performances and a tight script to pull it all together. While I went into it thinking I would be bored, I couldn't help but be dragged in by the multi layered characters and several heart felt moments. It's probably one of the best dramas I've seen in a while.
My rating: 5/5