Matt King (played by George Clooney) is a wealthy lawyer running his own practice in Hawaii. His wife Elizabeth has had a serious accident and she lies in hospital in a coma. He must take on an unfamiliar role as primary parent to his 10 year daughter Scottie (by Amara Miller) while his wife is ill. Alongside this, through a quirk of history his family are the descendant owners of a huge parcel of Hawaiian land and, as Trustee, he must decide on the best method to sell the land and share the profits amongst his broader family.
As it becomes clear that Elizabeth won’t survive much longer, Matt has to let family and close friends know so they can say their goodbyes to her. He is heartbroken and when he brings his elder daughter Alex (by Shailene Woodley), back from school to help care for Scottie and for her mother’s final days, she reveals that her mother has been having an affair. From here, the story develops as Matt seeks the truth about his marriage and his wife’s infidelity.
There is a thread of comedy through this movie, which is entertaining – but on the whole it is an emotional story. George Clooney shows his acting prowess in the dramatic roller-coaster role – and he does very well. Both Alex and Scotty are performed nicely also. The grandeur of the Hawaiian Islands is showcased beautifully throughout the story and it is an appropriate backdrop to the various aspects of this drama. The only negative is that the movie is just too long. The story is good but too drawn out – there is no added value in its length (it could easily be 20 minutes shorter without losing any impact) and by the end I was just wishing it would finish. Clooney will deserve the Oscar if he gets it though.