“Everything just happens.”
Despite the sudden flood of films released in December, 2011 remained mostly devoid of truly compelling films. Thankfully, even the first act of The Descendants goes well above what many releases of the year accomplished in their entirety. This isn’t a movie to get you in an uplifted mood, nor does it try to achieve this effect. Instead, we get an incredibly strong character portrayal that almost becomes scary in just how realistic it is. Clooney might be known for playing confident and unflinching characters, but here he provides a more vulnerable performance that allows just about anyone to connect with him. Both him and the film are more than deserving of Academy Award status, and not just because of the comparatively underwhelming releases that have dominated this year.