Clooney shines in family drama

The Descendants Fox Searchlight Rating: 14A 115 minutes

The Descendants is up for an Oscar for Best Picture and George Clooney, after winning a Golden Globe for his role in the film, is a favourite to win the Oscar for Best Actor.

It is probably his best role (although don’t forget he won Best Supporting Actor for Syriana in 2005) and he is popular in Hollywood right now so his odds of winning are pretty good. That said, Clooney is not a really strong dramatic actor. He’s better in the lighter stuff, but he is very good here.

He plays a father struggling to cope with his two daughters, then is told an unpleasant secret about his wife, who is in a coma following a boating accident. Up till now he’s put most of his energies into business, heading up an extended family-owned Hawaiian consortium which may develop a huge area of untouched land on Kauai.

Clooney is surrounded by a strong supporting cast, especially Shailene Woodley as his older daughter, and production values are good with lovely Hawaiian scenery and an entertaining Hawaiian soundtrack.

However, The Descendants is unlikely to win Best Picture with competition like The Artist and Hugo. It’s a little hard to feel too emotional about well-to-do folks like Clooney’s character struggling to survive this hard life in paradise. We all have problems and the dramatic side of this film leaves many people cool. It is also up for several other Oscars, including Best Director, Editing and Screenplay.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.