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The Descendants (2011)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  9 December 2011 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 196,079 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 433 user | 542 critic | 43 from

A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 64 wins & 130 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Grace A. Cruz ...
Karen Kuioka Hironaga ...
Carmen Kaichi ...
Cousin Ralph
Matt Esecson ...
Cousin Hal
Cousin Milo
Stanton Johnston ...
Cousin Stan


Matt King's family has lived in Hawaii for generations. His extended family - namely he and his many cousins - own 25,000 acres of undeveloped land on Kauai held in trust, which ends in seven years. The easiest thing for the family to do is sell the land before the seven years is up, which is all the talk in the state, as, to whom they sell the property could very well change the face of Kauai. Despite the vast wealth that comes with the land, Matt has decided to live solely on what he earns as a Honolulu lawyer. However, Matt has not had a perfect life living in Hawaiian paradise as many believe. He and his wife Elizabeth were having problems in their marriage. She recently got into a boating accident which has placed her in a coma. Their seventeen year old daughter Alex is in boarding school on the big island since they couldn't handle her rebellion, which was made all the worse by an argument of an unknown nature between mother and daughter during Alex's last visit home. And their ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

9 December 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los descendientes  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,345,720 (USA) (18 November 2011)


$82,624,961 (USA) (27 April 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kristen Stewart auditioned for the role of Alexandra. See more »


When Matt meets Brian for the first time in the beach house, Brian is wearing a blue and white checkered shirt. While talking alone in the kitchen, the back collar of the shirt alternates between down and folded up between shots. See more »


[first lines]
Matt King: My friends on the mainland think just because I live in Hawaii, I live in paradise. Like a permanent vacation. We're all just out here sipping Mai Tais, shaking our hips, and catching waves. Are they insane?
See more »


Features March of the Penguins (2005) See more »


Papa Sia
Written by Johnny Noble
Performed by 'Elua Kane
Courtesy of Hula Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A movie that you do NOT want to end...
18 November 2011 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

The director of this movie, Alexander Payne, was the guy who made "Sideways." This is a very different movie in that it focuses on family relationships rather than those between friends and lovers. But, Payne displays--in this touching and very real movie--the same incredible talent for doing two things better than almost every other movie maker (at least as far as I'm concerned): 1) he brings the viewer into the geography and milieu of the time and place in a gritty way that clearly presents the natural beauty of the area without over-romanticizing it and 2) he fits the characters into this environment and achieves a reality for these people that transcends the 2-dimensional characters that populate the multiplexes. You really care about these people.

Another similarity between the characters in "Sideways" and this movie is that the protagonists are, in at least one important way, lost. They both are also honest with themselves.

And thank God Payne did not use an orchestra for the soundtrack that would foreshadow and punctuate the scenes telling us how our emotions should run...I will not tell you what the soundtrack is, other than to say it's perfect.

This is not a comedy though there are a few laugh lines. Clooney will get the Oscar for can he not? He is in every scene, and I cannot imagine him being better. And Shailene Woodley plays his older daughter: just amazing. A beautifully realized character.

I tried carefully here to give nothing away but to encourage you to see this as soon as you can. Brilliant.

158 of 251 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Yet, another mislabeled movie windquake
Great movie if you're an adult lynfoster
Did anyone else think this was just plain terrible? Boing_Boing
Bad dialogue. Bad acting. Bad editing. Bad everything? kareldc2
Where are the Hawaiian people? jorgenson-s
Shaeline garethrh
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