Movie review: The Descendants

The Descendants poster

Zachary Brenner

Staff Writer

Rating: R for foul language and some inappropriate sexual references

With the race to the Oscars underway, The Descendants stars George Clooney in the role of Matt King, a Hawaiian father struggling to deal with his family while his wife is on life support due to a boating accident. In the midst of all this, he finds out that his wife had been cheating on him before her accident. Furthermore, he will have to decide if he is willing to sell the large and beautiful piece of land that has been in his family for generations.

One word comes to my mind when looking at the issues Matt King has to deal with: Heavy. That same word can be said for the entire film, though there are moments of lightness. The movie overall may be too much for some viewers to handle without bursting into tears. This drama is not your ordinary who-likes-who teen drama, but depicts a real life situation that one could only pray would not happen to him or her.

One setback of The Descendants is the depressing plot. The movie’s primary story revolves around death and how a man and his family deals with it. The film will leave the viewer feeling depressed, though it seems that was the film’s goal.


Check out a scene from The Descendants.

Nothing is worse than a professional movie with bad child actors who just make the movie awkward and unrealistic. However, with some extremely dramatic and intense scenes revolving around Matt King’s kids, the strong acting of the child performers was almost forced out of them.

Shailene Woodley plays the role of Matt King’s eldest daughter, Alex. She breaks the news to her dad about her mother’s affair. Matt then goes to another island of Hawaii to pick Alex up from her boarding school to help him with his youngest daughter, Scottie, played by Amara Miller, who is always looking for attention. However, what Matt did not know was that by bringing his eldest daughter back home, he was also giving an invitation to his daughter’s boyfriend, Sid, played by Nick Krause.

The Descendants was very well written. The dialogue and characters’ actions set up good opportunities for Clooney to display his acting skills. Even more importantly, Clooney captured his character very well.

This movie contains very mature and depressing content that may be boring for younger audiences.  If you are a die-hard fan of action, I do not see you loving this movie – you will think it is slow and too sad. However, I do recommend seeing it when it comes out on DVD or airs on HBO if you do not want to take the trip to the theater. This is the top contender for Best Picture at the Oscars, and many others who have been moved by this movie will agree.

Grade: A-