As good as George Clooney is as beleaguered Hawaiian nabob and
family man Matt King in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," 20-year-old
Shailene Woodley still steals the show as King's messed-up teenaged daughter Alexandra. Her
subtle, funny, and vivid performance will probably catch the eye of critics
groups and the Academy as the awards season approaches.
Okay, maybe I'm being a little harsh about the diminished role of women in the studio films at this year's Toronto Film Festival. True, there aren't any Hollywood films by female directors this year. The Kathryn Bigelow effect apparently hasn't kicked in yet. And women in significant roles are pretty rare, too.