The Descendants

Published May 27, 2012

The Descendants

Film info

  • Title The Descendants
  • Director Alexander Payne
  • Year 2011
  • Run time 1hr 55m
  • Genres Comedy, Drama
  • Tagline The South Pacific ain't that terrific

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.

Fast Facts

Title: The Descendants Director: Alexander Payne Year: 2011 Run time: 1hr 55

Background Info

For a moment, we were bereft of decent films to watch on iTunes, and pondering what we would be going for next. Then, all of a sudden, a batch of new films came in and we were snowed under with choices. This was somewhere near the top of the list because it has George Clooney in it, but also because we felt like something that would be a bit more relaxing and less action-packed than some of those we normally opt for.

Live Blog

1:36 - I think I am one of those that believes Hawaii to be a permanent paradise. 3:46 - Is it wrong to want George to just narrate the whole film? 4:45 - “I’m the backup parent. The understudy.” 8:16 - I think he is going to narrate the whole film. I am happy. 9:12 - “You give your kids enough money to do something, but not enough to do nothing.” 14:55 - He’s sitting on a beautiful sunny beach, so it’s a little bit paradise even if it’s not the best life ever. 17:54 - What is Scottie as a girl’s name? 24:45 - Swimming through leaves doesn’t seem much fun. Bring on the pool guy. 27:37 - I love that we have been dropped in the middle of their lives, and the backstory comes out gradually… and unexpectedly. 28:50 - There’s no possibility that anyone on the planet could cheat on George Clooney, surely? 31:05 - “Is this a bad time?” “No, no, we’re just fighting.” 33:32 - Everyone on this island seems to have a piano in their house. 40:05 - Well, he gave him warning. 42:04 - “We’ll Google him later.” Number one stalking technique. 53:05 - I don’t want to kick a man when he’s down but these are some awful shirts he’s picking out. 55:32 - There seems to be a lot of flying involved in living in Hawaii, I don’t think I would do very well. 58:33 - OMG, this is LOST land. 1:03:08 - Not paradise, my foot. 1:05:27 - The surfer dude boy looks just like a girl I used to know at school. 1:08:10 - Keep expecting to see bits of aeroplane sticking out the sand. 1:13:18 - Oh no, it’s raining in Hawaii. Bad things happen when it rains. 1:17:52 - That is actual yodelling. 1:29:48 - Totally captivated. Forgot to type. 1:37:59 - I do like that they spend a majority of the time barefoot. 1:48:44 - Morgan Freeman talking about ice. Is that the penguin film? I haven’t seen that yet.


I really loved this. It had a great story, and was incredibly well acted from all involved. The children were believably innocent and yet mixed up, and everyone had their own little journey to take. The scenery was beautiful, the direction moving and captivating at the same time. My only complaint was the over-use of the music. Some nice Hawaiian music is great, and it helped with the setting and the pacing. However, at times it felt like it was there constantly and I could have just done with a bit of silence instead. Endless Hawaiian music is not so great. Mild niggle, though, not a major complaint.

**Rating: **5/5

Rating: 5 / 5

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