The Descendants (2011) Review

Matt King’s world is turned upside down when his wife ends up in a coma after a boating accident. This sees him reconnect with his two daughters and start the grieving process.

But it’s really not a simple story about a man who has to face losing his wife, he has to face it after finding out that she was having an affair with another man. This being the reason his eldest daughter Alexandra had fallen out with her mother, before being sent away to an institution for drink and drug problems. His youngest daughter Scottie had her own problems and looked to be spiralling out of control like her sister.

When Matt decides to confront the man his wife was having an affair with Alexandra and Scottie go with him for the trip along with Sid. Who seems like a very strange addition to the group but it makes much more sense towards then end why Alexandra wanted him around so much.

But this was not the only thing Matt had to deal with, he had to focus on a deal involving all of his cousins for a big bit of land they owned through the family which he was in charge of. This gave him extra headaches when he had to decide whether to sell or not.

We therefore see Matt on an emotional rollercoaster through having to deal with all of this at the same time, whilst trying to figure out how to raise his daughters and attempt to understand them. This brings out an incredible performance from Clooney who throughly deserves all the accolades coming his way for this film.

I was extremely impressed with Shailene Woodley who I thought gave a terrific performance as the oldest daughter. Who clearly had her problems and grew as the film went on and became likeable which did not seem possible in the beginning.

The thing that surprised me the most about this film was the comedy side of it, I thought it was going to be a very hard-hitting drama. But that was not it at all, it really did have some very funny parts and made me laugh. It also had moments when you weren’t sure whether you were supposed to laugh or cry – which just helps to show how many different emotions we see from start to finish.

5 thoughts on “The Descendants (2011) Review

  1. I found it a bit muddled and unsure of itself, to be honest. Payne has made some fantastic films but The Descendants is not one of them, really don’t understand all the Oscar buzz surrounding it.


  2. A wonderful film…really, really great. Payne has never disappointed me and his films just get better with every viewing. Sideways is still my favourite but The Descendants was a terrific emotional journey with an excellent central performance and a wonderful ending (and final shot).


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