The Descendants (Alexander Payne) - 2011

Hawaii is an island paradise but that does not mean that families exist there without problems.  George Clooney is a lawyer who has not paid enough attention to his marriage and his two young daughters.  Clooney's wife (Patricia Hastie) was recently injured in a boating accident.  She is paralyzed in a hospital bed throughout the movie.  All of the immediate family members go through their stages of grief as they recall and reconsider their lives before the accident.  Clooney and his daughters (Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller) form an alliance as they discover and investigate a previously unknown aspect of the woman who was once a dynamic presence in their lives.  This movie provides an excellent examination of a family's reaction to a traumatic situation.  However, the story would have been much better without the excessive profanity from the teenage and pre-teen daughters. [JAM 12/4/2011]