The Descendants Synopsis
A man (George Clooney) faces some tough decisions in the wake of his wife's tragic boating accident.
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


Wall Street Journal

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

By Owen Gleiberman
Another beautifully chiseled piece of filmmaking - sharp, funny, generous, and moving.
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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.
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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.
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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...
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Many Cheers, A Few Tears

By kritiq1
This rises above the usual Hollywood holiday fare. It drips authenticity, and handles the difficult subject of a dying family member in a deft and realistic way. Honest performances from Clooney and...

Amazing film on family dynamics, love, & forgiveness

By george_gordon
Best movie I've seen in a long time. Story and characters are so natural and nuanced and complex, struggling for dignity, flawed, utterly believable. Casting is brilliant across the board. Clooney as...

Sharply written and transparently honest.

By Nacho Baggo
When the same person writes, produces,and directs, it is a good one! This is more than true with the DESCENDANTS. Heart wrenching and playful scenes played out with enjoyable characters and a...

Clooney's Most Likeable

By PECurls
Matt King is George Clooney's most likeable character yet. He is a father and husband having to come to grips with a life- altering tragic event and he (and we) don't know if he's up to the challenge....

The Descendants

By laurap45
Interesting film. Clooney has never been better. I am still thinking about how I feel. Many reviewers write about how funny the movie is - I think we saw it in alternate universes....

So genuine & honest

By meldropper
What I loved about this film is how quickly I felt I could connect with the characters. It is a serious, heavy film but with appropriate "laugh-out-loud" moments of comedy that helps break the...


By williamgliu
Good movie! I liked the scenerie; the acting good; the play write good;may-be alittle less swearing by the kids;emmotional moment when they were at the Kauai family land look-out point &...

Interesting family drama

By msherrell
The story held my interest, and the Hawaiian setting offered twists and turns that were unexpected. Enjoyed this movie as a break from Thanksgiving and holiday shopping....

typical hollywood movie

By Il Postino
Great locations, boring movie, Clooney was fine but this is not an Oscar performance. The boat funeral was redundant. I do not think this is a movie that will be remembered....


By tvstinks911
Should have been called Dragon. Why...because that is what it did. DRAG ON DRAG ON DRAG ON We stayed to see if she would wake up but wished that we did not. Terrible movie. No redeeeming...

More Info

Rated R | For Langauge, including some sexual references.
What Parents Need to Know
Common Sense Media says Devastating, moving dramedy about death and forgiveness.
Read the Common Sense Media Review