It's such a lovely thing that you can almost always depend on a George Clooney movie to be good. Not that all of his movies have been winners, but many of them have been safe bets. "The Descendants" is no exception. It's a pleasant mixture of drama and humor, not to mention good acting, which is nice considering all of the mediocre/bad acting I've been witnessing in movies.
Clooney plays Matt King, the descendant of Hawaiian royalty (I bet you can relate to that, am I right?), whose wife is in a coma after a boating accident. They have two daughters, Scottie, a young troublemaker, and Alexandra, a rebellious teen with issues, one of them being her mother. After learning that his wife isn't going to recover after all, Matt brings Alex home from boarding school, trying to prepare everyone for the upcoming tragedy. What he doesn't expect is Alex's revelation that her mother was having an affair.
I like what they did with this story. Instead of simply wallowing in grief and anger, Matt decides to go in search of his wife's lover, not only to confront him, but to allow the cheating bag of ho a chance to say goodbye to her before she dies. He brings his daughters along with him, not to mention Alex's dopey friend, Sid.
And while this is going on, Matt also has to think about selling the land that his family has owned for generations. Most of his relatives want to sell it so that they can get huge chunks of money. Luckily, it's not up to them, it's up to Matt.
This ended up being quite satisfying, both story-wise and character-wise.
On an unimportant side-note, I heard an older woman one row over tell her husband, "That's a very pretty kid. A very pretty girl.", referring to Shailene Woodley. I'm assuming this spurred on my mom, because after it ended she told me, very enthusiastically, how pretty Shailene is, which is not something I'd have expected to hear from her. Seriously, she rarely gives out that kind of compliment.
My grade: B+