The Descendants
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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. -- (C) Fox Searchlight

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Descendants is humane, decent, and close to real quality."
‑ David Thomson, The New Republic
"In the hands of writer-director Alexander Payne, Clooney has rarely seemed so much at home."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"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..."
‑ Glenn Dunks, Trespass
"A beautifully touching, tragic and amusing follow-up film from the director of Sideways."
‑ Tom Glasson, Concrete Playground
"Each year there are usually one or two films that don't deserve all of the insane praise they get (last year's The Fighter is a prime example) and it looks like "The Descendants" is one for this year."
‑ Jeff Beck,
"Payne is an unobtrusive director, a filmmaker who lets the script do the walking - in this case, perhaps too much."
‑ Dave Calhoun, Time Out
"In playing an everyman stranded between anger and duty, Clooney earns an emotional payoff that a lesser actor would simply demand."
‑ Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A truthful, warm-hearted, deeply moving film about loss, about death, about legacies and, yeah, family."
‑ Will Leitch, Deadspin
"The Descendants manages to even surpass those stratospheric expectations most fans will have walking into the theatre."
‑ Kristal Cooper, We Got This Covered
"Understandable when dealing with Payne's typically directionless protagonists, The Descendants occasionally feels like it is unsure of where it's going, yet it still always ambles along at a pleasant pace regardless."
‑ Matt Looker,
"One of the year's best films, a bubbly meditation on family and responsibility that weighs just enough to matter."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"With so many balls in the air the temptation is to rush from one plot strand to another, but Payne takes the opposite approach. He also captures the complexity of emotional reactions that grief stirs."
‑ Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
"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."
‑ Al Alexander, The Patriot Ledger
"Like "Sideways" and "About Schmidt," "The Descendants" lets Alexander Payne show us the Other America and the Other Americans - little lives caught up in small but epic problems far away from the La La Land of Hollywood hype, sex and violence."
‑ Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
"A thoroughly rewarding assembled-for-adults dramedy that benefits immensely from both its island locale and one of George Clooney's finest performances."
‑ Erick Weber, NECN
More reviews for The Descendants on Rotten Tomatoes

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