Alexander Payne’s The Descendants (2011) is not quite as good as his Sideways (2005), but better than all his other films. It partly concerns when the knowledge about other people ineluctably oppresses the heart and mind, and when such knowledge is withheld for other people’s good. Adapted from a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, it is superbly put together with smart, appealing cinematography, compassion without heavy pathos, and acting that deepens the proceedings. This last emanates from George Clooney, Beau Bridges, Shailene Woodley and a splendid Judy Greer.
(The photo is of Alexander Payne.)