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The Descendants (2011)

George Clooney , Judy Greer , Alexander Payne  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (677 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: George Clooney, Judy Greer
  • Directors: Alexander Payne
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (677 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004UXUX4Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,017 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Descendants" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Only Oscar-winning writer-director Alexander Payne (Sideways) would think to cast the famously handsome George Clooney as a disheveled dad in his outstanding adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings's tragicomic novel. Clooney dials down the glamour to play Matt King, a Hawaii real-estate attorney with a propensity for unflattering shirts and ill-fitting trousers. When Matt's wife, Elizabeth, ends up in a coma after a water-skiing accident, Matt must learn to balance the parenting of his resentful daughters, Scottie (Amara Miller) and Alexandra (Shailene Woodley, The Secret Life of the American Teenager), with the sale of a pristine plot of Kauai land that stands to make the King cousins, including scruffy Hugh (Beau Bridges), a fortune. As Elizabeth's condition worsens, Matt contacts friends and relatives, like her fiercely protective father (Robert Forster), so that they'll have the chance to say goodbye. In the process, he finds out she was having an affair with realtor Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard, effectively cast against type), so he and the girls, including Alex's hilariously mellow friend, Sid (Nick Krause), go on an island-hopping trip, ostensibly to add Brian to the mix, but Matt really wants to find out what his wife saw in the guy. His journey from naiveté to knowledge brings out Clooney's soulful side, creating a believably flawed, deeply sympathetic figure. If Payne leans too heavily on the slack-key soundtrack, his love for his characters, including Judy Greer as Matt's female counterpart, results in his most emotionally satisfying movie to date. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

From the celebrated director of Sideways (Alexander Payne) comes a wonderfully warm and witty film that Rolling Stone calls "damn near perfect." Academy Awardr winner George Clooney 'leads the ensemble cast of year' (Chicago Tribune). Experience a bittersweet drama about a detached father's attempt to reconnect with his two daughters and their often-hilarious quest for the truth in this "moving, enlightening, funny and unapologetically human" film (Pete Hammond, Boxoffice Magazine). Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
179 of 206 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
It seems hard to believe that it's been seven years since Alexander Payne's "Sideways" became the critical darling of 2004. Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and winning Payne an Adapted Screenplay Oscar--that picture (along with Election and About Schmidt) signaled a talented filmmaker with an unorthodox worldview. Blending elements of comedy and drama, Payne has crafted complex characters simultaneously frustrating and sympathetic--but altogether real. In adapting Kaui Hart Hemmings' intimate novel "The Descendants" to the big screen, Payne demonstrates (once again) a deft balance of emotions to create a picture both funny and heartbreaking. I so admired how Payne made vineyards and fine wines a major component, an extra character really, in the sublime "Sideways." In much the same way, Hawaii is a principle character (and I would contend one of the most pivotal) to "The Descendents." It would be easy to imagine someone jettisoning much of this rich texture, but Payne has crafted a loving tribute to the state's heritage in addition to one of the year's most surprising family dramas.

George Clooney plays one of the titular descendants, someone whose family has great historical significance to the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, he and his many cousins own a great tract of undeveloped land that plays a major role in the film's fascinating side story. Front and center, however, is a more personal tale of family dysfunction and pulling together in crisis. When Clooney's somewhat estranged wife is incapacitated in an accident, Clooney must take charge of his troublesome teenage daughter (an astute Shailene Woodley) and his rebellious younger girl (an appealingly unexpected Amara Miller).
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life As It Is (In Alexander Payne's Style) December 15, 2012
Format:DVD
It is pretty difficult to describe what kind of a film Alexander Payne's new film "The Descendants" is. Some will think it is a comedy drama about messy nature of life. Others may feel the film is rather sad, dealing with life's most devastating moment. Perhaps both views are right.

The story itself is simple. George Clooney plays Matt King, a successful Hawaiian lawyer and sole trustee of pristine land on Kauai Island. His wife Elizabeth has been in coma since the boating accident a few weeks ago. Having been too busy, he doesn't know how to talk to his two daughters, precocious 10-year-old Scottie (Amara Miller) and rebellious 17-year-old Alex (Shailene Woodley). In his voiceover Matt pleads with his wife to wake up.

Ironically it is Matt who has to "wake up." He learns that his comatose wife had been "seeing" someone. With his wife's health deteriorating, Matt sets out to seek the truths about that guy, with his daughters and Alex's slacker friend Sid (Nick Krause) only to find unexpected consequences. And Matt has to make a grave decision about a tract of land in less than a week.

With the beautifully shot on-location photography in Hawaii, "The Descendants" sometimes looks like a visual travelogue, but the beautiful images sometime hide uncomfortable surprises and facts Matt didn't want to know. The film is part Matt's spiritual journey that is, skillfully told by the director, is amusing and touching at the same time without relying on conventional settings. It may not be all that uplifting, but overall optimistic.

The film is in a sense a character study of Matt (played superbly by George Clooney), but other characters are equally intriguing.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, Missleading Trailer August 21, 2012
Format:DVD
Directed by the creator of the Oscar-winning SIDEWAYS, The Descendants starts when Matt King, a "back-up" father (his words) must slow down his career to take care of his two daughters (17 and 11) while his wife is in the hospital in a comma caused by a boat accident. Soon we learn, his wife, spurned by Matt's long absences and indifference, was having an affair. Matt and his older daughter decide to search for this man they never met dragging along the younger girl and the oldest girl's boyfriend, and, of course, the viewer.

The Descendants has many things going for it. George Clooney, for one, beautiful views of two of the islands of Hawaii, a strong story that does not shy away from reality and avoids the sugarcoating so prevalent in Hollywood movies, and great acting from all the actors including the aforementioned Mr. Clooney.

Yet, I cannot say I loved it.

Why? Because it is a realistic take on fatherhood and marriage and, after watching the trailer, I expected something lighter.

This is not the movie's fault. The Descendants is a serious movie and that's perfectly all right. I like serious movies. But not when I am expecting something else.

So, now that you know, please go and enjoy. It's worth seeing. Just don't go for the laughs.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable film with Clooney at his best April 8, 2012
Format:Blu-ray
I had missed this highly rated (by the critics) movie in theaters, so I finally got around to renting the Blu-ray over the weekend.

It's mostly a sad drama about a man slowly losing his wife after a boating accident, but there are a few comedic moments along the way that are realistic, rather than forced. The writing and the entire cast are great. I'm not the biggest George Clooney fan, but his work in Up in the Air and The Descendants has totally made me a believer in his acting talents when given the right material. The girl who plays his oldest daughter is very good as well. One of the better movies I've seen in 2012 and worth checking out.
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