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The Descendants / Les Descendants (Bilingual)

George Clooney , Shailene Woodley , Alexander Payne    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.98
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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

From the Studio

From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning film Sideways (2004), 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. ©Fox Searchlight

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite film of 2011 March 11 2012
By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER
The Descendants (2011)
Comedy, Drama, 115 minutes
Directed by Alexander Payne
Starring George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Nick Krause and Amara Miller

***Spoilers within***

It took me about two minutes to decide that The Descendants was going to be my kind of film. It happened during Clooney's opening voice-over in which he observed that, just because they live in paradise, Hawaiians aren't exempt from the usual problems people face. That statement caught my attention because it's true, but it also alerted me to the possibility that the script would be both truthful and more intelligent than most.

Matt King (Clooney) is the kind of character that I can identify with. He's a lawyer and his job is more important to him than his family. He regularly travels to neighboring islands on business and hasn't had a proper relationship with his wife and two daughters for several years. When his wife has an accident which places her in a coma, Matt's life changes instantly. He has to be a father to his daughters and he's completely unprepared.

His younger daughter, Scottie (Miller), is 10 years old. Matt last took care of her when she was three. His other daughter, Alex (Woodley), is 17 and is in a boarding school to help her overcome alcohol and drug problems. When Matt learns that his wife will never wake up, he takes Scottie to collect Alex from the school. Alex is drunk when he turns up and openly defies him early in the film.

Place yourself in Matt's situation for a moment. How would you attempt to console your daughters? What would help you establish some kind of connection with them? If you're all they have left, how will you make them feel as if everything is going to be all right?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise offers no king immunity from care Feb. 25 2012
Director Alexander Payne has previously directed movies such as Election starring Reese Witherspoon, About Schmidt (Widescreen) starring Jack Nicholson, and Sideways (Widescreen Edition) starring Paul Giamatti, nominated for five Oscars winning one.

Gregory Peck once said it's hard to make a good man look interesting.

You can probably imagine in a cinematic world peopled with antiheroes, flawed heroes, or unrealistic superheroes, how refreshing it might be, to encounter a good guy we can relate to, in situations that parallel those we might actually experience.

George Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer, businessman, and hardworking mostly absent father of two girls. He happens to be wealthy because of his descent from the original landowners of Hawaii, the real Hawaiians, who own most of Hawaii. Sole trustee of the family's interests, and now because of succession rules faced with the situation of having to sell off thousands of acres of pristine land to resort developers. Despite his family wealth Doug leads a very modest life. He drives a metallic silver Honda Civic, a sensible car.

When his thrillseeking wife ends up in a coma following a powerboating accident, he is thrust into the unfamiliar role of looking after his two daughters each bringing their own challenges. The younger one has difficulties in school, the older one, well, she's a teenager.

We learn early in the movie that the wife had an affair, making a difficult situation even worse.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I was surprised how much I liked the movie Jan. 28 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This movie was a surprise. I really enjoyed the film and like it when the movie is much better than I expect. Only issue with the purchase is buying the Blu-ray but you get a SD digital copy. Seems a lot of the studios do this. If I buy the Blu-ray, I expect the digital copy to be HD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cd March 4 2013
By Doncott
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Totally met my expectation....George Clooney gave a fantastic performance, as well as the girls who play his kids. I will enjoy watching it again soon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Feb. 23 2013
By pam
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a really good, feel good, movie. Somewhat of a travel log for Hawaii Good acting. George at his best. All the characters were very believable. Lots of funny stuff.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Descendants Jan. 31 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was somewhat disappointed, I expected more of a story. It was a good movie but not a great movie in my opinion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clooney en grande forme Nov. 7 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Excellent film où nous retrouvons George Clooney en grande forme.

L'histoire d'un père qui s'occupe de ses deux filles à la mort de sa femme.

Rien de très neuf, mais le tout est brillamment interprété avec une fraîcheur certaine.

À regarder pour sourire de la vie et, parfois, avoir la larme à l'oeil.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent May 21 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The movie was well acted, especially by Clooney. Absorbing sory line and wonderful scenery. We watched it twice at one sitting!
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