User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 383 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 383

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  1. Aug 25, 2014
    9
    An exquisite look at a most unusual story. Alexander Payne paints another ironically beautiful account of life and characters, with the help of a remarkable performance from George Clooney.
  2. Jan 7, 2014
    8
    Destaques para história e para atuação de elenco que são perfeitas.
  3. Nov 25, 2013
    6
    An ok movie. Not great, not awful and certainly not up to any expectations one might have had. Acting is fine, story is a bit odd. The dead mother/wife was not portrayed as a loving positive person really, which was unusual, so it was hard to be that sympathetic. Clooney was good being Clooney. The daughter was a positive note. I'm only reviewing this because I stumbled on it here. Not something you'd watch over and over. Expand
  4. Sep 11, 2013
    5
    It`s a relaxing movie, but gets kind of dull and slow at time.If you just want to watch a movie while you eat, or drink something The Descendants will do just fine, but it`s not a movie that will blow you away, and keep you`re attention.
  5. Aug 3, 2013
    4
    Stupid piece of crap. Don't waste your time watching this movie, it's sooooooooooooooooo boring (at least the second half of it). You will be watching your watch for the last hour
  6. Jul 5, 2013
    5
    There is a definite Sideways feel about this film, unfortunately it never reaches that level. Maybe a fault in the script, but I couldn't relate (or understand) the actions of most of the characters in the film. The acting didn't help either it was flat. A scene towards the end of the film, where Clooney's character Matt King) talks to his wife complete with close up and tears failed to stir any emotions. This to me summed up the whole film, with the exception of Scottie (Amara Miller) the only character in the film that made me give a damn. Overall, a film I'll probably forget sooner rather than later.... Expand
  7. Apr 26, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. So, apparently, even jerks feel pain. And silly me, I thought they only knew how to inflict it. And of course the jerks learn to forgive and harmony is restored, fade out. It all seem way too pat and by-the-book, i.e., formulaic, to me. But hey, the Academy thinks the screenplay was just boffo. Go figure. Expand
  8. Mar 9, 2013
    7
    The Descendants is not a bad Comedy/Drama. It is well directed and all the actors act well. It even has several very funny moments. But overall it doesn't have a particularly gripping story. Also George Clooney is just doing his typical George Clooney routine. It's not bad but it's not really anything new. In my opinion it's nothing to be terribly excited about.
  9. Dec 23, 2012
    9
    I found this a very touching and quite emotional film which brought echoes of events in my past to the surface (I won
  10. Dec 20, 2012
    5
    I have no idea why this was nominated for an Oscar. Having lost my dad to cancer, I thought it would be a good movie. I am 16 and I love great movies. (check out my ratings) But...what the hell? It's not an awful movie, and it is supposed to be serious. A serious piece meant to open the eyes, but all I wanted to do was sleep during the entire movie. Just, what the hell, Academy?
  11. Dec 6, 2012
    9
    Really great film! George Clooney gives the best performance of his career. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. One of the absolute best films of 2011.
  12. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    Splendidly written and magnificently acted, "The Descendants" overall proves to be an emotional endeavor into some incredibly rich thematic subject matter.
  13. Nov 28, 2012
    6
    Not nearly as good as his previous works; The Descendants is Alexander Payne
  14. Nov 17, 2012
    5
    The Descendants is a well acted movie centered around grief and loss with some standout performances (Clooney & his daughters). However, there's no escaping the feeling of manipulation when watching this film. It deals with subjects that are universally upsetting but the movie often feels like it's merely checking off a list entitled: 'Things to make people cry'. Also some parts of the movie (most notably Skeet Ulrich and his wife) just feel wrong and fall flat. The Descendants is worth watching but it's no Sideways or Up in the Air. Expand
  15. Oct 1, 2012
    5
    This is just another example of a "work of art" garnering high favoritism by professional critics. I should have said so-called professional critics. The story, as I read in another review, was predictable. The plot points were not at all complex, and somewhat boring. I'm not going to say it was a horrible movie, but it sure wasn't the most fascinating movie I've seen by any stretch of the imagination. Sad to say, it seems like Payne's days of creating high art, such as the movie Sideways, are over. I think it's also important to note that the acting was very mechanical, and not natural. For me personally, it was not an addictive movie, unlike his 2004 film. The Hawaiian setting could have allowed for either an extremely interesting, or really bad movie. It seemed like Payne was trying really hard to keep it from veering off into really bad. The other thing that makes me argue against it being a great movie is that I didn't learn anything from it. I think the only thing I learned is that the children of bad parents, say bad words and do stupid things. The Descendants was a smug, and pretentious film that did not have much artistic merit. Trust your instincts and say no to this movie. Not worth it. Watch a Coen brothers film. Expand
  16. Aug 18, 2012
    5
    Alexander Payne makes somewhat formulaic movies wherein disfunctional family members need to find each other again during times of emotional distress. It's well made but seems to last a lot longer then it needs to and it's not Oscar material but it did win one anyways...
  17. Aug 10, 2012
    9
    At times it could be melodramatic, but this was both hilarious and heartfelt in classic Alexander Payne style. Total sidenote: who knew Shailene Woodley could act? That was a shocker...
  18. Jul 23, 2012
    7
    Pretty good film, Alexander Payne has come a long way as a storyteller since 'sideways', if your familiar with that film then you will know what to expect, although this is much more watchable. Clooney is less irritating than hes been in a long while, the story of family turmoil has been seen a million times before, but is well told, however, the ace card here was the decision to base it in hawaii, if it had been set, in say, pittsburgh, it would have been just another humdrum family tragedy movie, Payne doesn't waste the opportunity and uses the gorgeous scenery to good effect, the laid back feel of the islands also helps to compliment the pace of the film, its leisurely but never really boring. Clooney says at the beginning of the film that people on the mainland assume those on hawaii are living in paradise and don't feel loss or pain, they do, of course, but its a much better place to deal with emotional disasters than a bedsit in **** in january. Well written, directed and acted, not quite the Oscar winner, but definitely a decent film. Expand
  19. Jul 13, 2012
    8
    stunning movie. great story, george clooney does great, and the fact that its in hawaii makes it even better. the scenery is brerathtaking, and the background music hawaiin. its all so great. comical at times, yet sad alot as well. must see.
  20. Jul 5, 2012
    9
    When watching an original wildly entertaining smart film like the Descendants one wonders why more films can't feel like this. Alexander Payne really does it again, in both writing and directing, and hits just the right note all the way through, in of a story about a man played by George Clooney who deals with the conflicting emotions that his wife is in a comma and has also been unfaithful to him and his relationship with his rebellious daughters. There's not a single performance that doesn't work, and the film though perhaps less of an outright comedy than some of Payne's previous films has it's share of funny moments. Easily one of the five best movies of Clooney's career, possibly top three, and my second favorite Alexander Payne film behind Sideways. Expand
  21. Jun 15, 2012
    2
    Absolutely lame. Uneventful, boring, and self-absorbed. The writers try in vain to express human pain through cinematic garbage. Clooney's character is the worst father and must be a concoction of today's liberal version of what a father should be like. Best film of the year? Possible since most films made today are terrible too.
  22. Jun 4, 2012
    8
    A very well done movie with GORGEOUS scenery throughout. I couldn't help they were rubbing into our face how much nicer Hawaii is then well....anywhere else. Makes you re-think living it upstate New York. Anyway, all very good performances, and I enjoyed how unsympathetic the mother/wife in the coma was after awhile.
  23. May 27, 2012
    10
    i really,really liked this movie. great acting all around, everyone plays their character perfectly even the supporting cast. interesting story, although i didn't read the book so i don;t know how great the adaptation is. and excellent pacing and direction. just a really well made film. really recommend it.
  24. May 26, 2012
    8
    George Clooney is great in this one, I really believed him with his character. The Hawaiian-inspired story was excellent and its development makes the story more interesting. The other actors are also great and they had different emotions throughout the film. Not the best of all time but definitely one of the year's best...................
  25. May 10, 2012
    2
    None of the characters touched me one bit. All unbelievable Mr Clooney plays his usual unemotional, twitching, sad sack (there have been notable exceptions-he was great in "Oh Brother..."). The kids were okay but what is the deal with every other word out of the young one's mouth is **** Is that supposed to be funny, when children swear, and dad gives an exasperated look? Maybe they wanted an R rating to pique some interest. What is the purpose of the boy friend? His character is inane. Perhaps the grieving daughter could get support from him; no way with this guy; every fathers nightmare that your daughter brings a guy like this home. And where was his family? He spent every minute with the Clooney clan. Mr Forster is good as usual. Once again the wrong person is blamed for the affair; in this case the man. The wife is absolved of all responsibility because she is dying, when she wanted to have the affair and cheated on her husband; but f course he feels guilty. Mr Clooney's Matt finally has time for his wife and falls in love with her in the coma, even though she lied and cheated on on him. We "see" no background just an occasional reference to his being too busy. Drama? Comedy? I could not have cared any less about the ridiculous back story (someone please help Mr Bridges to find meaningful work). You go to the trouble to make a movie in Hawaii and almost no one talks, looks, or feels Hawaiian ( except the beautiful scenery). Uninteresting people, uninteresting story, no emotion, no one to root for. It's a mess. Amazing how so many critics loved this film. Mr Clooney certainly has a stranglehold on Hollywood. Expand
  26. Apr 16, 2012
    9
    No one has any redeeming qualities in this movie. That usually doesn't bother me, but these people are jerks! They all got me really angry. But the believable family dysfunction is what makes this movie so good. Despite disliking everyone, I thought the movie was real good. That one of my problem with last year's Best Picture Nominee, 'The Kids are Alright.' Everyone in that movie was too likable, so the dysfunction wasn't believable. This year, many people were rooting for The Help, which is really good, but I just think Descendants was better. An underdog story like The Help is easy to root for.

    To pull of a believable dysfunctional family is more difficult. In the Descendants you eventually do make an emotional investment and gain compassion despite the unlikable characters. This is one of the things 'Precious' had going for it a few years ago.

    I know 'The Artist' won, but I think the Descendants was the best picture of all the nominees.
    Expand
  27. Apr 13, 2012
    2
    To think this movie got its Academy award for Best Adapted Screenplay, of all things. I would say its script is among the worst of its features, and there is no shortage of bad features "The Descendents" boasts. From the cringeworthy dialogues, to the placid performances of underwritten characters, to the cliched ending, it's a snoozefest of terrible. The voiceover is tacky and disappears mysteriously halfway through, having served its expository goal. There are F words aplenty, none of which coming naturally from its utterers - be it preteens or the always charming but never offensive Clooney. The exchanges are forced and bland. The development of character, if any, feels forced as well - one minute somebody does something portraying him in one light, the next - its opposite, there is no gradualness or shades.

    I felt Clooney gave a good performance given the material he had to work with, and I was happy enough with Shailene Woodley. Somehow they even managed to get the score wrong, even though its Hawaiian music over a movie taking place on beautiful Hawaii.

    All in all, I was utterly disappointed, maybe I got in with the wrong expectations on the back of so much critics' praise (are they being paid by the studio to marvel in such drivel? I can find no other explanation for so many 10/10 scores in the face of such gaping chasms in the bowels of this movie) and award nominations. Don't make the same mistake.
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  28. Apr 12, 2012
    4
    I watched it because of the high criticisms it received, but during the last hour or so, I really kept my finger from switching off the DVD player. What was the meaning of all this ?? And why all the fuss ? Classic scenario and nice scenery in Hawaii was all. Really mediocre movie.
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Jan 23, 2012
    80
    A marvellous follow-up to 2004's "Sideways" - well worth the wait.
  2. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Nov 23, 2011
    88
    All of Payne's films have been driven by the anger and frustration of his protagonists, but The Descendants is the first one in which sadness lurks behind every frame.
  3. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Nov 23, 2011
    91
    There are ample opportunities for the film to soak in pathos, righteousness, farce, or pictorialism, and Payne manages to nod at those pitfalls without falling into them. In a way, it's just like Matt King's world: enviably plush but filled with the real pain of real life.