Hawaiian millionaire Matt King (George Clooney) has a pretty good life, a nice home and a family (though he considers himself the back-up parent, there for emergencies).
He’s also the sole trustee of a vast family estate which he is expected to sell, propelling him and his extended family into the ranks of the super-rich.
MILD SPOILERS BELOW
In the film’s opening moments disaster strikes.
Matt’s wife has a boating accident and the doctors warn she’s unlikely to pull through and he must decide whether to pull the pug on her life support. King finds himself trying to bond with his daughters while giving them a enjoyable weekend, before breaking the news about their mother’s prognosis.
But the weekend also brings King the revelation that his wife was having an affair and with his daughters in tow, he sets off to find her lover. What follows is an emotional, funny and poignant story about a family struggling to deal with crisis and hidden secrets.
Clooney is superb as the unpretentious and hyper-responsible King, torn between wanting to beat up his wife’s lover and giving him a chance to say goodbye, while also being urged to sell vast lands by a family which has frittered away its inheritance while the the islanders want him to protect their shared legacy.
Director Alexander Payne reveals the layers of the Kings’ turmoil with skill and perfect timing, crafting a plausible tale of a family feeling their way through an unprecedented roller-coaster of loss, pain, outrage and sympathy.
This is one of the most mature, adult dramas cinema has produced in a long time. Here in the UK it tells the sort of story we might expect from a high-end, one-off BBC drama.
A quick note to the film’s UK marketing team. This is a GREAT film. It has great dialogue, fantastic performances, beautiful photography and is wonderfully directed. However. most people will never know this because your trailer for it sucks. I can’t think of another film which had its brilliance so deeply buried by its own trailer.
This is exactly the sort of film adult audiences are crying out for. Go see it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Our verdict: 4.5/5