The Descendants

George Clooney, a self-described “back-up parent,” suddenly finds himself the primary caregiver of his two daughters when his wife becomes incapacitated.  He doesn’t know what his daughters have been up to in recent years, and, as it turns out, not much about his wife’s life either.  He muddles through.  There’s a subplot involving a family trust with vast real estate holdings (the Rule against Perpetuities makes an appearance), which mostly serves as an excuse for some fantastic Hawaiian scenery.

This is that rare thing, a film pitched at adults that doesn’t condescend.  Clooney, in real life a parent of none, is very convincing as an accidental father.  The relatively unknown actors who play the daughters and the older daughter’s boyfriend are even better.  I also enjoyed Beau Bridges in a small role as an older, scruffier Clooney.  Highly recommended.

The film has an R rating for no apparent reason (no explicit s*x, violence or nudity).  Any well-adjusted teenager would enjoy it. A 10-year old would probably be bored.


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