7.3/10
225,649
480 user 555 critic

The Descendants (2011)

Trailer
2:19 | Trailer
A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

Director:

Alexander Payne

Writers:

Alexander Payne (screenplay), Nat Faxon (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
2,227 ( 713)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 66 wins & 142 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Up in the Air I (2009)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Ryan Bingham enjoys living out of a suitcase for his job, travelling around the country firing people, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a potential love interest, and a new hire.

Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.

Director: George Clooney
Stars: Paul Giamatti, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Nebraska (2013)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb
Sideways (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
Syriana (2005)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A politically charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved in and affected by it.

Director: Stephen Gaghan
Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their biological father into their non-traditional family life.

Director: Lisa Cholodenko
Stars: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo
About Schmidt (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man upon retirement, embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding, only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney
Election (1999)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Director: George Clooney
Stars: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Patricia Clarkson
Juno (2007)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Clooney ... Matt King
Shailene Woodley ... Alexandra King
Amara Miller ... Scottie King
Nick Krause ... Sid
Patricia Hastie ... Elizabeth King
Grace A. Cruz Grace A. Cruz ... Scottie's Teacher
Kim Gennaula Kim Gennaula ... School Counselor
Karen Kuioka Hironaga Karen Kuioka Hironaga ... Barb Higgins
Carmen Kaichi Carmen Kaichi ... Lani Higgins
Kaui Hart Hemmings ... Matt's Secretary Noe
Beau Bridges ... Cousin Hugh
Matt Corboy ... Cousin Ralph
Matt Esecson Matt Esecson ... Cousin Hal
Michael Ontkean ... Cousin Milo
Stanton Johnston Stanton Johnston ... Cousin Stan
Edit

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 December 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Descendants See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,190,096, 20 November 2011

Gross USA:

$82,584,160

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$177,243,185
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Datasat | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Shailene Woodley's character's name in this film is Alex King. George Clooney previously worked on ER (1994) with Alex Kingston. Also, Kingston's character's name in ER was Elizabeth, the same name of the wife of Clooney's character in this film. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: 21 Jump Street (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Kalena Kai
Written by Webley Edwards (as John Kalapana)
Performed by Keola Beamer and George Winston
Courtesy of Dancing Cat Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Payne knows exactly what he's doing, and what he's doing is tremendous.
18 January 2012 | by Ryan_MYeahSee all my reviews

Alexander Payne hasn't made a film from the director's chair since his incredible Sideways back in 2004. Seven years later, he finally returns, and with The Descendants, he returns with a bang.

Like Sideways, his screenplay (co-written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash) nails the tone right on the head. It has to balance out three tricky narratives in the film (Matt King's self-crisis, his comatose wife's affair with another man before her boating accident, and a land deal he's reported to make), and without the proper guidance it needed, along with Payne's own confidant direction, it could have faltered. Thankfully, it balances out heavy themes and complicated emotions in uncommon detail.

The characters in this movie are many, complicated, and sorrowful in their own unique ways. Matt King was a perfect role for George Clooney. He keeps his composure, but we can still see a very heavy, filtered sorrow beneath the surface. Shailene Woodley's character (Woodley, by the way, gives one of the year's best performances) begins with a rebellious, even angry sadness, but we can see her develop over the course of the film, gaining a strong maturity beyond her years. Judy Greer and Robert Forster are each given a few spare scenes, and they make every second of their screen time count.

It really is an emotional ride, even depressing sometimes, but I'm surprised by the occasional review I read where critics say they didn't feel the emotion to be sincere. In my opinion, the emotions of the film never hit a single false note. I don't think just anybody could have made this movie the way it is. This isn't a typical drama, the movie's genre is Payne, and he knows exactly what he's doing.

***1/2 out of ****


82 of 125 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 480 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed