The Descendants (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Descendants (2011)



Critic Consensus: Funny, moving, and beautifully acted, The Descendants captures the unpredictable messiness of life with eloquence and uncommon grace.

Movie Info

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. -- (C) Fox Searchlightmore
Rating: R (for language including some sexual references)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 13, 2012
Box Office: $78.5M
Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site


George Clooney
as Matt King
Shailene Woodley
as Alexandra King
Amara Miller
as Scottie King
Beau Bridges
as Cousin Hugh
Patti Hastie
as Elizabeth King
Robert Forster
as Scott Thorson
Judy Greer
as Julie Speer
Matthew Lillard
as Brian Speer
Grace A. Cruz
as Scottie's Teacher
Kim Gennaula
as School Counselor
Carmen Kaichi
as Lani Higgins
Kaui Hart Hemmings
as Matt's Secretary Noe
Matt Corboy
as Cousin Ralph
Matt Esecson
as Cousin Hal
Michael Ontkean
as Cousin Milo
Stanton Johnston
as Cousin Stan
Jonathan McManus
as Cousin Six
Hugh Foster
as Cousin Wink
Tiare R. Finney
as Cousin Connie
Tom McTigue
as Cousin Dave
Milt [Lewis] Kogan
as Dr. Johnston
Mary Birdsong
as Kai Mitchell
Rob Huebel
as Mark Mitchell
Laird Hamilton
as Troy Cook
Aileen "Boo" Arnold
as Dorm Supervisor
Esther Kang
as Alex's Roommate
Melissa Kim
as Alex's Drunken Frien...
Barbara Lee Southern
as Alice "Tutu" Thorson
Zoel Turnbull
as Hotel Clerk
Linda Rose Herman
as Grief Counselor
Scott Michael Morgan
as Barry Thorson
Darryl K. Gonzales
as Tahiti Nui Singer (K...
Koko Kanealii
as Tahiti Nui Singer (K...
Romey "Keola" Yokota...
as Tahiti Nui Singer (K...
Patricia Hastie
as Elizabeth King
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Descendants

Critic Reviews for The Descendants

All Critics (239) | Top Critics (49)

The Descendants is humane, decent, and close to real quality.

Full Review… | June 20, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

Mr. Payne's undeniable knack for naturalism makes "The Descendants" a wholly persuasive and heartfelt experience.

Full Review… | October 7, 2015
Critic's Notebook

I enjoyed Clooney's performance enormously without ever buying it for a second.

Full Review… | May 3, 2015
Philadelphia Weekly

The Descendants is an exercise in why women are such horrible, despicable shrews. When this film isn't demonising its female characters for daring to be unhappy in their marriage, it's condescending them for showing too much emotion...

Full Review… | September 8, 2013

A truthful, warm-hearted, deeply moving film about loss, about death, about legacies and, yeah, family.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

People looking for a good lei would be wise to say aloha to 'The Descendants,' Alexander Payne's Hawaiian-set luau in which laughter and tears combine for a cinematic feast.

Full Review… | May 25, 2013
The Patriot Ledger

Audience Reviews for The Descendants


A predictable pseudo-indie drama lazily written by someone who seems to have no clue about real people's lives. It is constructed around many artificial conflicts and embarrassing moments of humor, centered on a group of pathetic characters that are hard to care about.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

Clooney is an unlikely lawyer in Hawaii preparing for the deal of the century when his wife goes into a coma through an boating accident. What happens next, presented in a touching family drama kind of way, is the interpersonal family business of burying the dead, warts and all. Not bad, and a depiction of Hawaii not usually seen.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


I don't expect too high for Alexander Payne's movies because even though a lot of people love his work, especially the critics, but he clearly wasn't one of my favorite.. But what I saw for after 2 hours are a masterpiece from Payne with an outstanding performance from George Clooney and a show stealer performance from Shailene Woodley.. The story is light, kinda boring a little, but it's stunning me..

Sanjaya 丘耀文

Super Reviewer

The Descendants Quotes

Matt King: Hey, I'm doing you a favor. I could go out there and fuck you up, so get a better attitude!
– Submitted by Adam O (2 years ago)
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?
– Submitted by Adam O (2 years ago)
Alexandra King: Hey, Scottie! Raina's a fucked-up hoe-bag and you need to stay away from her! And she's going to be a meth-head and she's gonna get used by stupid guys! She's a twat! Say it!
– Submitted by Adam O (2 years ago)
Matt King: I don't want my daughters growing up entitled and spoiled. And I agree with my father - you give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.
– Submitted by Adam O (2 years ago)

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