Oscar-Winner The Descendants (2011) Arrives on Home Video
Why did George Clooney receive an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Descendants? Perhaps it was his gloriously understated performance in a role that might have been taken way over the top by a lesser performer. As grieving, soon-to-be widower Matt King, Clooney brings dignity and humor to a film that could have been grim and maudlin.
Matt King is a lawyer whose comatose wife (Patricia Hastie) is about to be taken off life-support, a clueless father (“the back-up parent”), and a member of a family with a huge piece of gorgeous Hawaiian coastline that—due to changes in the law—they must sell. Sale of the land could mean a half-billion dollars for him and his cousins, most of whom do want to sell (including Matt). The Descendants centers on two factors: Elizabeth King’s impending death and the fate of the family land that had been handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries. Adding texture is the evolution of Matt’s relationship with his two daughters (Shailene Woodley in a sensitive performance, and Amara Miller), and his discovery that had his wife not been injured in a boating accident, he would be losing her anyway.
Nominated for five Academy Awards and winner of “Best Adapted Screenplay,” The Descendants was directed by Alexander Payne and adapted from the best-selling novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. It is a fitting representation of life and death as they really happen—with sadness, humor, anger, and frustration, as part of the spectrum of emotion.
The Descendants is available on DVD and in a Blu-ray combo pack from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The DVD features “Everybody Loves George,” “Working with Alexander,” and “Hawaiian Style.” In addition to those extras, the Blu-ray includes deleted scenes with introductions by the director, “The Real Descendants,” casting, “Working with Water,” music videos, “A Conversation with George Clooney and Alexander Payne,” a digital copy of the film, and more.