Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodly, Amara Miller, Mattew Lillard
Screenplay by: Alexander Payne, Jim Nash, Nat Faxon
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Colour, 110 Minutes
I am glad I finally ended up getting to watch this as it is a touching, funny and moving film that gracefully shows the messiness of family problems. George Clooney gave excellently realistically charged performances as the father of two daughters who has recently become emotionally broken down with the chaotic and heart-breaking incident. Alexander Payne wrote and directed this blissful film and did a clean job. The Academy (Academy Awards) loves this film. Does it live up to its monumental premise? To an extent, yes, and it is definitely worthy of some of its nominations including Clooney for best actor.
George Clooney is Matt King; a land baron who tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident. That is the core of the films plot.
Alexander Payne’s direction was great and the very first opening shot that shows a woman on a Jet ski, which then fades out. We then fade in meeting Clooney and it seems now, the woman we just saw on the Jet Ski has had an accident. Not once do we hear the character always talked about speak, which gives this film an excellent spark as despite the character having no presence, they cause problems.
The only flaw of the film is how stretched out the tragedy is. It seems the mothers accident has spiralled the rest of the family down into havoc. The ill mother is like the films theme in which it revolves around as the family squanders to find out more about her affair, but the final moments with the mother are far too stretched and overdone with emotion trying quite hard to get the audience crying. Well, I was not shedding any tears but I am human, so the emotions thrown in all over this film make it realistically touching.
Faxon's, Rash's and Payne’s script was nothing short of wonderful. The humour that has been thrown in to relax the audience and give them a break from all the drama worked extremely well. I often found myself laughing at scenes such as when Alex’s friend is punched by Matt’s grandfather. The humour throughout is not ‘laugh-out-loud’ humour, but subtle humour which gives the film a beautiful balance between drama and comedy.
Moreover, how was Clooney? Marvellous; he portrayed the troubled father beautifully as did most of the actors in the film, including Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller as the daughters.
The critics have acclaimed this quite a lot, with all its nominations, and it lives up to it to an extent. It definitely deserves the nomination for best adapted screenplay (Academy Awards) and same goes for Clooney’s nomination as best actor in a leading role. I guess it deserves the Best Picture nomination, as it is a great film.
Another thing good about the film is the excellent character development. A once rather dysfunctional trio that is disconnected comes together as a family. The final scene of the film was heart-warming and a pleasing way to leave the story as they sit together, like an ordinary family, watching T.V and sharing the sofa. It may or may not leave you satisfied, as there is a moment a few minutes prior to that, that would have made it a beautiful ending.
Verdict: The films delectable sense of humour, fine drama and excellent performances make it one of 2011’s most graciously made films sticking out from all the blockbusters and CGI with its beautiful acting and gorgeous cinematography.
Age Certificate: 15 (R)
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures