The Descendants | Indy Week

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Rated R · 115 min. · 2011


Juxtaposed with an idyllic Hawaii milieu, wealthy attorney Matt King (George Clooney) takes up residence in the hospital room of his wife, Elizabeth, after a boating accident leaves her comatose. As Matt and two unruly daughters, 17-year-old Alex (Shailene Woodley) and 10-year-old Scottie (Amara Miller), prepare for her death, Matt learns that she had been cheating on him with a local real estate agent (Matthew Lillard). Director Alexander Payne's deft skill at leavening adult themes with breezy humor remains in fine form. However, Matt remains largely untainted, a man without context whose problems are the apparent product of external sources. Meanwhile, the mute Elizabeth is not given a credible advocate, leaving her vulnerable to profane, unchallenged attacks from the victimized. For Matt, the only thing standing in the way of family healing—and a night spent snuggling on the sofa with his daughters—is a dead materfamilias.

See our full review: To the end of Hawaii with George Clooney in <i>The Descendants</i>

To the end of Hawaii with George Clooney in The Descendants

Director Alexander Payne—who has married and divorced since Paul Giamatti sipped wine in his last film, Sideways—now presents a character who enjoys redemption only once his wife is brain-dead and on a ventilator. »

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Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Producer: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
Cast: George Clooney, Judy Greer, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard, Robert Forster, Shailene Woodley, Mary Birdsong, Nick Krause and Amara

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