I have this affinity for film adaptions. It doesn’t necessarily have to be based on the books I have read, but if a book or novel is made into a film, that for me is a sign that the story must be really good.
After watching “The Help” without reading the book and liking it so much, I’ve been looking forward to watching another book-based movie. We found “The Descendants” and with 5 Academy Awards nominations tucked in its belt, I know it’s a good film, no less. The screenplay was based on a novel of the same name by Kaui Hart Hemmings.
The movie was set in Hawaii, and tells the story of Matt King (played by George Clooney), a lawyer and sole trustee of his ancestor’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries. But because of the rule against perpetuities, Matt and his cousins decided on selling the land before the trust expires. However, a boating accident involving Matt’s wife, Elizabeth, put everything on hold.
We will learn in the first part of the film that Matt is bent on saving his marriage, and that he and his wife has not been on speaking terms.
But the doctor told Matt that his wife will no longer wake up from the coma, and under a living will that she has made, she must be disconnected from the life support. Matt will break the news to his 2 daughters, Alexandra (Amara Miller) and Scottie (Shailene Woodley), both of which are not close to him, and put his grief on hold as he tries his hand in managing his children.
On top of these, Matt will learn from his eldest, Alexandra, that his wife cheated on him. Their family friends confirmed this and identified his wife’s lover as Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard – remember him from the movie, “Scream”?).
In a twist that gave comedic touch to this film, Matt and Alexandra teamed up (with Alexandra’s friend, Sid, in tow) to find out where Brian Speer lives and what he looks like. They were able to locate his house, but no Brian Speer in sight.
But Alex was able to find him, or rather his signage board, giving Matt the info he just needed about the guy.
He called Brian’s office and learned that he is vacationing in Kaua’i. Matt and his kids (with Sid still in tow) followed him in Kaua’i. He has decided that he will tell Brian that Elizabeth will die soon so Brian could make his final goodbye (what a very unselfish husband!).
In Kaua’i, Matt and his children were able to visit the family’s land that will be sold pretty soon to a Hawaiian developer. It was a sight to behold. The vast land (25,000 acres all) was to be developed into a resort with condominiums and golf courses.
Back at his trail, Matt learned where Brian’s cottage was and befriended his wife. He and Brian eventually met and he told Brian about Elizabeth. Brian begged Matt not to tell his wife about the affair, and admitted that Elizabeth was only a fling (which hurt Matt even more because he knew that his wife loved Brian).
Then, in a move that surprised all his cousins, Matt decided against selling the land and vowed to find a way to keep it, which obviously displeased his cousins.
Finally done confronting his past, Matt bid Elizabeth goodbye and kissed her – a sign that he has forgiven her.
Elizabeth’s ashes were brought back to the sea by Matt, Alex and Scottie.
It was a very touching film, and George Clooney was brilliant in his role. You will totally forget about him being “overdue single” in real life, as he was very emphatic in his role as a husband and father. While I find Matt’s character as unbelievably unselfish, I think what he showed me was a love that is forgiving.
Do watch this film. It’s one of the Oscar’s finest entries this year.