Well, two Oscar-nominated films in a week! Having seen the excellent 'The Artist' last week, Jude & I caught the new George Clooney film, 'The Descendants' yesterday, which is also up for best film at the forthcoming American Academy Awards.
The story weaves together a number of plot-lines: Clooney plays Matthew King, a husband and father of two girls, coming to terms with the imminent death of his wife, comatose following a powerboat accident; he is also the sole trustee of a family trust which manages some prime real estate on one of the Hawaiian islands, which locals don't want to see sold and developed, but most of the family do; and he is also coming to terms with the discovery that his wife was in an affair with a real estate agent linked to the land deal.
It has been said that this is Clooney's best performance of his career: he's certainly given a lot of screen-time - I don't think there are many scenes in the film in which he is not a part. The emotional themes of loss, betrayal, revenge and the trials of parenting a troubled teen and a potty-mouthed pre-pubescent, give him plenty of scope to develop the character, and I would say that he does so with consummate skill (though as I only remember his work in Batman & the Ocean's franchise it's difficult to say whether it's his best performance).
I thought that Shailene Woodley, who played the elder daughter Alex, put in an excellent performance, and has rightly received many accolades (and awards) for her role in the film. She is definitely 'one to watch' in the future.
Although the plot twists were a little predictable, it was a highly entertaining film, and one which I would strongly recommend.