You may not believe me if I told you I saw a movie about a family tragedy that made me laugh out loud, but The Descendants is that film. Alexander Payne's dramedy is a deeply moving story about a man, Matt King (Clooney), who struggles to reconnect with his daughters when a boating accident leaves his wife on life support. The film is filled with raw emotion, but it also finds humor in the realism of how people react and rebuild when life deals them a bad hand.
Matt's bad hand isn't just his wife's accident; he's also got rebellious 17-year-old Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) and precocious 10-year-old Scottie to look after, not to mention the fact that he's days away from making a life-changing decision about a plot of land that his family owns. Oh, and did I mention that in the midst of all this he learns that his wife had been having an affair? The premise certainly doesn't sound like a laugh riot — and believe me, it's chock-full of tear-jerking moments — but The Descendants is a gem that perfectly combines tragedy and folly, set against a Hawaiian backdrop.
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