100

Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
Rarely has a contemporary movie taken in so much life and revealed it with such depth of feeling.
Full Review
100

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Steven Rea
Clooney has never been better, subtler, more deeply rooted in a performance than he is in The Descendants. And he's funny, too.
Full Review
100

The Hollywood Reporter

By Todd McCarthy
After a five-year wait since "Sideways," Alexander Payne has made his best film yet with The Descendants. Ostensibly a study of loss and coping with a tragic situation, this wonderfully nuanced look at a father and two daughters dealing with the imminent death of his wife and their mother turns the miraculous trick of possibly being even funnier than it is moving.
Full Review
100

Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
Another beautifully chiseled piece of filmmaking - sharp, funny, generous, and moving.
Full Review
100

USA Today

By Claudia Puig
It's a precarious balance, but Payne blends wit and poignancy so artfully it feels like an exquisitely choreographed dance.
Full Review
100

Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
Payne's low-key approach only deepens the film's intimate power. Want a movie you can really connect with? The Descendants is damn near perfect.
Full Review
88

Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
I can't think of another movie this year that made me laugh or weep harder for the whole lumpy business of being - the compromises and connections that get us through the day and somehow add up to entire lives.
Full Review
80

New York Daily News

By Joe Neumaier
Payne's observational humor and attention to detail yield something emotionally epic. Everything from beachfront jogs to hospital confessions reveals layers of humanity and absurdity.
Full Review
75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
The movie itself is a worthy thing, too, but it's not as good as Clooney is here, which is to say, it's not great.
Full Review
55

Movieline

By Stephanie Zacharek
The Descendants is an ultra-polished picture in which every emotion we're supposed to feel has been cued up well in advance. There's nothing surprising or affecting about it. Not even Clooney, who works wonders with the occasional piece of dialogue, can save it.
Full Review
84 out of 100
Universal acclaim
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.