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The Descendants (2011)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  9 December 2011 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 177,665 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 415 user | 529 critic | 43 from Metacritic.com

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

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 69 wins & 107 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

9 December 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los descendientes  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$82,624,961 (USA) (27 April 2012)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first time Alexander Payne has worked with small children. See more »

Goofs

When Matt and Alexandra talk with Robert Forster's character on his back porch, he changes seats at the table between shots. Between cuts he moves from the chair nearest the lake, to the chair closest to the sun room, back to the chair nearest the lake. See more »

Quotes

[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?
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Connections

Featured in Conan: May Old Acquaintances Be De-Friended (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Ka Loke
Written by Mary Heanu and Johnny Noble
Performed by Makana Sons with Dennis Pavao
Courtesy of Tropical Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: The Descendants
24 January 2012 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Newly minted Best Picture (Drama) at this year's Golden Globes, along with George Clooney being awarded the Best Actor (Drama) award, The Descendants is Alexander Payne's latest film since Sideways, based upon the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Dealing with the central character of Matt King (Clooney) as the trustee of his extended family's trust of thousands of acres of untouched land on the island of Kaua'i, Hawaii, Clooney puts in a commanding performance that deals with one man's plight on many fronts, from his children, his wife, his relatives and having to make tough decisions that will affect the lives of his kindred.

As with Payne's films, the challenges that stand in the protagonist's way are what make the film highly engaging, and Clooney drops his film star demeanour to play the everyday man who faces issues that aren't too far fetched, discovering that his now comatose wife Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie) has been cheating on him, and trying to reconnect with estranged daughter Alex (Shailene Woodley) and 10 year old Scottie (Amara Miller) since he's a dad who's seldom at home and seen. And as if matters of the family cannot get anymore complicated, here comes the extended family of cousins and just about everyone related to the King real estate who have to decide, ultimately by Matt himself, how to best sell off their inherited land in order to maximize their profits, with a deadline to boot.

With the multiple narrative threads dealing at a microscopic emotional level - trying hard to come to terms with a cheating spouse where you know you've drawn the shortest possible end of the stick given the state of the other half, and having a teenage daughter who doesn't quite understand you, they provide that grounding to make it easy to identify with Matt King the man who's really quite down on his luck on family matters. The plot threads expand to his near obsession to want to discover with whom his wife has been cheating with, and to bear the brunt of an incessantly sarcastic father-in-law who doesn't take her daughter's comatose state all too kindly.

But it's not all doom, gloom and filled with negative emotions here, as the film does have its fair share of lighter moments courtesy of characters like Alexandra's insensitive loud mouthed friend Sid (Nick Krause) who comes along for the road trip of sorts, though almost always punctuated with that tinge of inevitable sadness in the air. Moments of poetic justice also makes you want to whoop for joy, although you tend to weigh in on these moments and make you think - would you want to maximize benefits for those in your family, or for selfish reasons choose not to remotely reward someone who had done you a great wrong. Such is the tussle and wrangle Matt has to deal with, and makes The Descendants one really topsy- turvy emotional ride, which on one hand one wants to appear magnanimous, while on the other having to suppress the urge to just punch out.

And Clooney deserves his award for making Matt King so believable, junking his glamorous self for something far more affable at first, before the problems start to pile, each with a deadline of its own, and wondering when he would crack under undue pressure, emotionally and physically. Sharing perfect daughter-father relationship chemistry with Clooney is Shailene Woodley who in my opinion is an up and coming young actress to look out for, showcasing a wide range of emotions here, and a scene which I thought brought out her best when her character got broken the news of her mom's condition.

Alexander Payne crafts a meaningful, dramatic film that questions whether we should let the truth be always told, or to allow whatever the version it is in to pass, and to seek to forgive others even when we're wronged. And he deftly handles once again a protagonist who is put in a dilemma with monumental tasks to tackle, although you know they'd somehow converge together toward the end given the web of relationships that exists. Primed to be a firm contender for Best Picture come Oscar season soon, I'm quite certain this is a winner in its own way and doesn't need a golden statue to reaffirm that. Highly recommended!


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