The trailer for the George Clooney anchored Best Picture nominee The Descendants does the small family drama little justice. The story as presented by the trailer which is available on the free movie sites online Festival of Films, seems schmaltzy and saccharine. In reality the film is somewhat harrowing and while there are laughs offered up for levity the whole thing plays as a painful series of difficult situations. It is far from the fake and often over simplified moral quandaries that make up so much of modern American cinema.
This of course is the world of Alexander Payne a unique film maker and one who’s carefully chosen films tend to be interesting small pieces about real characters in completely realistic situations. His films also appear to be uniformly great. You know his work, he directed the heavily Oscar nominated Sideways which managed to turn Paul Giamati into a star. You might also know the Jack Nicholson vehicle About Schmidt and the Reese Witherspoon versus Matthew Broderick classic Election.
The Descendants is as good and possibly better than both of those movies though the trailer might not quite bare that out. When you watch the trailer in between watching free movies online you might think it would be a great movie for a more frivolous family member. Chances are though it is a much better choice for the film buff you know.