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From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning SIDEWAYS, set in Hawaii, THE DESCENDANTS is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 230
- Fresh: 205
- Rotten: 25
- Average Rating: 8.1/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: A splendid comedy-drama about a father coping with his comatose wife and difficult daughters represents high points for George Clooney and Alexander Payne.
Fresh: The latest exhibit in Payne's careful dissection of the beached male, which runs from Matthew Broderick's character in "Election" to Jack Nicholson's in "About Schmidt" and Paul Giamatti's in "Sideways."
Fresh: A tough, tender, observant, exquisitely nuanced portrait of mixed emotions at their most confounding and profound -- all at play within a deliciously damp, un-touristy Hawaii that's at once lush and lovely to look at.
Fresh: [Clooney] is a movie star who can't shake (and doesn't want to, one suspects) the baggage of that good fortune, yet consistently works to blend into the ensemble for the sake of story. The Descendants gives us his most emotional work to date.
A UNIQUE LOOK AT THE UPS AND DOWNS OF LIFE
As a director, Alexander Payne has almost never disappointed. With a filmography that includes intelligent comedy-dramas like "Election", "About Schmidt", and "Sideways", he has proven himself time and time again to be one of the most talented and accomplished directors in the movie industry. And after seven years away from the director's chair, Payne finally returned and presented us with perhaps his most honest and touching production yet, "The Descendants".
Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, the film, set in Hawaii, tracks the tumultuous life of Matt King (George Clooney), an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a devastating injury from a boating accident off the coast of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters, as well as the discovery of a long-concealed secret concerning his wife. All the while, Matt must decide whether or not to sell his family's land, which was handed down from Hawaiian royalty.
George Clooney delivers one of the most genuinely convincing performances of his career as an awkward, yet committed family man faced with having to deal with a number of personal issues. He effortlessly brings a subtle humanistic soulfulness to his simple character, portraying him in a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic light. Shailene Woodley also does a fantastic job in her debut film role as Alexandra, Matt King's rebellious, estranged teenage daughter. She brilliantly portrays a vulnerable adolescent girl struggling to come to terms with her mother's condition, while also attempting to reconcile her relationship with her father. Supporting actors Beau Bridges and Judy Greer also give some commendable performances. In addition, the screenplay is well executed and the gorgeous landscapes of Hawaii are simply breathtaking.
While there are a lot of great things to say about "The Descendants", it does have its slight flaws. The writing is a little sappy and the dialogue is a bit clichéd at times. But overall, I enjoyed "The Descendants" for what it had to offer. The acting is strong, the story is complex and the emotional depictions of the film's characters are beautifully honest, but not to the point of over-exaggeration. What I really admire about this movie is that it captures the unpredictable messiness of life in a graceful, fluent manner that almost all of us can relate to in some way. Personally, I think it's one of the past year's most authentic, heartfelt and compelling offerings. It may not be a film that everyone will enjoy, but for those who appreciate a well-crafted comedy-drama, it's definitely worth seeing.
A sensation to watch
I thought the heart breaking struggles of a man and his children, going through loss and betrayl, was a fantastic rollercoaster of enjoyment and despair. I rate it five stars, because it deserves it.
Very good movie
Before seeing this movie, I thought to myself "here we go another George Clooney movie." But after watching this film I saw why this movie was nominated for many Oscars and why it won a golden globe, because their is more to it than just a celebrity. It's about a story of a man who has to deal with many conflicts within his family, mainly, dealing with his dying wife. And after seeing George Clooney filing that role I have to give him a lot props for not only taking on that role but doing a good job of it, but I also have to give everyone else that credit. It overall was well written and directed. I recommend this for a good watch.
- Genre: Drama
- Released: 2011
- © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Dune Entertainment III LLC. All rights reserved.
- The Descendants
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