Best Movies by Farr
The Descendants Poster
Released Runtime Category
2011 115 Drama
Director Language
Alexander Payne English
George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Judy Greer, Beau Bridges, Amara Miller, Nick Krause

The Descendants

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What's it About

Hawaiian attorney Matt King (Clooney) has a lot on his plate. When a boating accident puts his wife on life support, Matt tries to be a loving parent to his two daughters, but he is understandably pre-occupied and distracted. At the same time, he has to deal with the disposition of 25,000 acres of prime island real estate, to which Matt is joint heir with numerous extended family members. It's not until elder teenage daughter Alexandra (Woodley) blurts out her suspicion that her mother had been cheating on him that Matt snaps back to attention. Together they investigate the identity of her lover, and this process eventually causes Matt to reassess his own life and values.

Why we love it

It seems that even in Hawaii, life isn't paradise, as evidenced by this thoroughly original and affecting drama of a family in crisis. As with other celebrated movies from director Payne (including "Sideways" and "Election"), the film's inherent pathos is leavened with lots of comic moments. In a smart stroke of casting against type, Clooney is superb as the disheveled, cuckolded hero, and Woodley is equally winning in her debut. Nominated for five Oscars (including Best Picture and an Acting nod for Clooney), "The Descendants" is that rare thing in Hollywood today: an intelligent human drama.

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The Descent

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"