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Review: The Descendants

Posted November 23, 2011 by in Comedy







Musical Score

Total Score

85/ 100

What We Thought

Genre: ,
Actors: , ,

What We Liked :

George Clooney Career Best Performance, Shailene Woodley

What We Disliked:

Depressing elements, Hawaiian land subplot
Bottom Line

The Descendants captures those moments of trauma in our lives and passionately reveals the beauty in those moments.

by Max
Full Article

Director Alexander Payne returns after a seven-year absence to wring out the best performance I’ve ever seen from George Clooney in The Descendants.

Matt King (George Clooney) is a very busy man. He is in the mist of selling off his family’s land that has been handed down through generations. The land comes from Hawaiian royalty and would make Matt and his family extremely rich. Matt has forgotten about his family over the last few years and it all comes crashing down on him quickly.

Mike’s wife has just suffered a horrific boating accident off of Waikiki that has put her into a coma. Matt decides he needs to reconnect with his daughters so that they can get through the tragic event as a family. His daughters aren’t ready for their father to actually be part of their lives and hesitate letting him in.

For all the humor The Descendants advertises, it delves into a lot of depressing elements. The film has a wake, bereaved family members, children overcoming loss, and adultery. Normally, a film would be smothered under all this sad material, but the script provides enough humor and heart to get easily transition through the scenes.

I never saw the appeal in George Clooney as an actor. He gets tons of raves and people seem to come out in droves to see his latest pictures. I’m not sure how it happened, but this is easily George Clooney’s best role. There’s going to be arguments for his roles in Up in the Air and Michael Clayton, but he has reached for this performance and it shows as one of his best.

The supporting cast of The Descendents is also impressive. His two daughters Alexandra and Scottie played by Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller, couldn’t have been more perfectly cast. They are asked to get extremely vulgar throughout the film and pull it off with ease. Each one of the characters in the film have hidden layers. Take Nick Krause as Sid for example. Coming off as comedic relief, there’s a point where Sid’s character grows into something much more.

The Descendants is all about growing into something more than the sum of your parts. Life in this Hawaiian paradise is just as challenging as our lives on the mainland. We’ve all seen films about families overcoming tragedies and surviving turmoil. Hawaii adds to the freshness of this story, but so do the performances. George Clooney proves why he is an A-list actor and should be in the front row seat for the Best Actor Oscar. The Descendants captures those moments of trauma in our lives and passionately reveals the beauty in those moments.

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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.



    I want to see this so badly. Thanks for the great write up my friend, have a good holiday weekend


    I admit I had not heard of this film until now – and it looks like it could be good. I've always enjoyed Clooney's various projects (Michael Clayton one of his finest) and I will have to seek this out, from the sounds of it.

    Great write up, Max.


      You haven't heard of this one yet, Rodney? This is going to be big time awards contender for the Academy Awards. It was really enjoyable. Check it out when it comes near you.


    Cool, the trailer does look intriguing, glad to hear the film lives up to it.


    This makes me want to see this film even more. I have heard great things about it and also about Clooney's performance.

    Thanks for the informative review.



    Really glad to hear it is a great film. I am seeing it this week. Will stop by and comment after I too have seen it!


    Clooney and everybody else included is great but it's really Payne who shines as the writer bringing out some funny humor but not without forgetting about the real rich moments of human drama. Good review.

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