November 27th, 2011, by Rob

The Descendants - Movie2k Movie PosterMovie2k Movies – The Descendants Synopsis

The Descendants is a 2011 comedy-drama film based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

The Descendants stars George Clooney, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard and Shailene Woodley and it was released in the United States on November 18, 2011. It is directed by Alexander Payne, with a screenplay by Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

The Descendants screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.



Movie2k Movies – The Descendants Plot

The Descendants opens with a shot of a woman riding in a sport motorboat in Hawaii shortly before the credits roll and Matt King (George Clooney) narrates. Matt is a wealthy lawyer descended from Hawaiian royalty and white missionaries. He is the sole trustee of 25,000 acres of untouched land on the island of Kauai’i, passed down from his ancestors. The trust will expire in seven years, and the family has decided to sell the land to Dan Hollitzer for development. Just as the family agrees on the deal and moves to sign, Matt’s wife Elizabeth is in a boating accident and rendered comatose. King explains how ridiculous it is that his friends on the mainland think Hawaii is a paradise when Matt has been living in a “paradise” full of UV and urination bags by her bedside. It is now clear that the woman in the opening shot is, in fact, Matt’s wife.

Matt and Elizabeth have two daughters, 10 year old Scottie (Amara Miller) and 17 year old Alex (Shailene Woodley). The elder attends boarding school on Oahu. Matt is not very close with them and has spent very little time with them over the years. With Elizabeth in the hospital, Matt is forced to confront Scottie’s swearing and bullying and Alex’s alcohol problems. Matt learns that Elizabeth will not be waking up from her coma. Matt tells Alex, but not Scottie, that Elizabeth is not coming out of her coma. He tells her they will need to go around and tell friends and family about what is going on. Alex refuses and bluntly tells her father that Elizabeth was having an affair at the time of the accident. Matt is shaken and frantically jogs to the home of his and Elizabeth’s friends: Kai and Mark. Matt confronts them and demands information on his wife’s extramarital affair. Kai is reluctant to reveal anything and Matt angrily berates her and tells her that Elizabeth is going to be taken off of life support. Kai begins to cry and Matt leaves. Mark follows his outside and tells him the name of Elizabeth’s lover is Brian Speer. Matt leaves and cries on the side of a road.

Back at home Matt goes to tell Alex to get ready to go see her grandparents. He is surprised to see that Alex has a visitor: Sid (Nick Krause). Alex insists that Sid come with them and Matt grudgingly allows it. At Elizabeth’s parents’ house, Matt’s father in law Scott (Robert Forster) berates Matt and Alex and tells them that they put Elizabeth through hell. He punches Sid in the face after he laughs at Elizabeth’s mother, who suffers from dementia. On their way home Alex spots a real estate sign with a picture of Speer. Matt calls the number and finds out that Brian is on vacation. Matt, Alex, Sid, and Scottie travel to Kauai’i to search for him.

After a day or two relaxing and bonding on Kauai’i, Matt is jogging on the beach he passes a man that he realizes is Brian Speer. Matt trails him and sees him enter a cottage where his wife and two children are waiting. The cottage is owned by one of Matt’s cousins Hugh (Beau Bridges). Matt later speaks with Brian’s wife Julie (Judy Greer) while her children are swimming. He learns that Brian is a friend of his cousin’s and has something to do with the land deal. Later, cousin Hugh tells him that Brian is Don Holitzer’s brother in law and if Matt and his family decide to sell the land to Holitzer, Brian Speer is the one who stands to gain a fortune from commissions. Matt is shocked by this and decides to confront Brian Speer at the cottage. Matt confronts Brian while Alex distracts Julie.

When they arrive, Matt introduces himself as Elizabeth’s husband. Matt tells him that he isn’t there to cause any harm, just to let Brian know that Elizabeth is going to die in a few days and that he just wants to give him a chance to say goodbye. Brian says he loves his wife and his family and that he is truly sorry for everything. It is clear to Matt that Brian was having an affair with Elizabeth in order to get closer to him, seeing as he is the sole trustee of the land. Matt asks if Elizabeth ever told Brian she loved him. He nods his head. Matt exits the cottage and prepares to leave, but in a spontaneous moment kisses Julie. Matt, Alex, Scottie, and Sid are next seen on a plane going home, at which time Matt acknowledges the fact that Scottie is still unaware of her mother’s condition.

Back at home, Matt is at the meeting with his cousins, including Hugh, to vote on what will become of the 25,000 acres. As expected, the majority vote for Don Holitzer. Just as Matt is about to sign the papers, he has second thoughts and decides to keep the land. Shocked, Hugh threatens Matt and tells him that he and the other cousins will come after him.

At the hospital, Elizabeth is close to dying. Everyone says goodbye and a surprise visitor arrives. It is Julie Speer, now fully aware of the affair between Elizabeth and her husband. Julie begins to cry and stands over Elizabeth saying that she has to forgive her even though she wants to hate her for destroying her family. Matt tells Julie to leave. Alex and Scottie say their final goodbyes. Matt kisses Elizabeth one last time, and says “goodbye my love, my friend, my pain, my joy, goodbye” as tears roll down his face. Some time later Matt, Alex, and Scottie are in a small boat scattering Elizabeth’s ashes in the ocean.

The final shot in The Descendants shows Matt, now a single parent, with Alex and Scottie on the couch watching TV and eating ice cream as the credits roll.


Movie2k Movies – The Descendants Cast


Movie2k Movies – The Descendants Production Notes

The Descendants began its on-location shoot in Hawaii on March 15, 2010. Post-production began on June 14, and continued into February 2011. The film was originally scheduled to have a limited release on December 16, 2011 but was moved to November 23, 2011 and then November 18, 2011. The soundtrack exclusively uses Hawaiian music, featuring artists including Gabby Pahinui, Ray Kane, Keola Beamer, Lena Machado, Sonny Chillingworth, Jeff Peterson, and Reverend Dennis Kamakahi.

The Descendants has received widespread critical acclaim.

The Descendants scored an approval rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus “Funny, moving, and beautifully acted, The Descendants captures the unpredictable messiness of life with eloquence and uncommon grace.” On Metacritic, the film scored an 84 based on 42 critics, indicating universal acclaim.

Roger Ebert gave The Descendants a perfect four star rating. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also gave the film a full four star rating, his second of the year, proclaiming the movie a near masterpiece. George Clooney and Shailene Woodley have both received acclaim for their performances.



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