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The Descendants

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Descendants
A man looking over his shoulder at the beach behind him, two people standing in the distance by the water.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlexander Payne
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Descendants
by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Starring
CinematographyPhedon Papamichael
Edited byKevin Tent
Production
company
Ad Hominem Enterprises
Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures
Release date
  • September 10, 2011 (2011-09-10) (TIFF)
  • November 18, 2011 (2011-11-18) (United States[1])
Running time
115 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$20 million[3]
Box office$177.2 million[4]

The Descendants is a 2011 American comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne. The screenplay by Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash is based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Kaui Hart Hemmings. The film stars George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, and Robert Forster, and was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures in the United States on November 18, 2011[1] after being screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.[5]

Tracing the journey of land baron Matt King who struggles with unexpected occurrences in his monotonous life, The Descendants won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and two Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture – Drama and Best Actor – Drama for Clooney.

Plot

Matthew ("Matt") King is a Honolulu-based attorney and the sole trustee of a family trust of 25,000 pristine acres on Kauai. The land has great monetary value, but is also a family legacy. While Matt has always ably managed his own finances, most of his cousins have squandered their inheritances. With the trust expiring in seven years due to the rule against perpetuities, the King clan is pressuring Matt to sell the land for hundreds of millions of dollars. Amidst these discussions, a boating accident has rendered Matt's wife, Elizabeth, comatose. With Elizabeth hospitalized, Matt is forced to cope with his two troubled daughters, 10-year-old Scottie who seeks attention by bullying other children, and 17-year-old Alex who has a history of substance abuse and is away at a private boarding school on the Big Island. Doctors determine that Elizabeth's coma is irreversible and her living will directs all life support to be discontinued. When Matt tells Alex, she reveals that she caught Elizabeth having an affair before the accident, causing a major rift between mother and daughter.

Two close family friends tell Matt that Elizabeth was unhappy and wanted to leave him for her lover, Brian Speer, a real estate agent. After Matt arranges for friends to bid Elizabeth goodbye, he decides Speer should also have an opportunity. He and the girls, and also Alex's slacker boyfriend Sid, travel to Kauai to find Brian. While there, Matt's cousin Hugh mentions that Brian is brother-in-law to Don Hollitzer, the developer to whom the family wants to sell the land. Brian stands to make a small fortune from the sales commission. Matt confronts Brian and informs him Elizabeth is dying and offers him an opportunity to see her one last time. Brian declines, admitting that although Elizabeth was in love with him, it was only a fling to him and that he loves his wife Julie and their children, then apologizes to Matt for the pain he caused.

When Elizabeth is disconnected from life support, her father Scott admonishes Matt for not being a more generous and loving husband. Choosing not to disclose the details of her affair, Matt agrees, but Sid and Alex both unexpectedly defend Matt. At the King family meeting, Matt overrules the majority of his cousins who favor selling to Hollitzer. Matt decides to keep the land and look for a different solution to the problem posed by the rule against perpetuities. Shocked, Hugh tells Matt that he and the other cousins will take legal action if Matt refuses to sell, but Matt is undeterred.

After learning of Brian's affair with Elizabeth and realizing that he will not visit, Julie comes to the hospital. She tearfully admits to Elizabeth that she wants to hate her for "trying to destroy" her family, but that she forgives her. Matt finally comes to terms with his wife's betrayal and her impending death. He kisses her goodbye, followed by Alex and Scottie, and later, they scatter Elizabeth's ashes in the ocean off Waikiki. Later, the three are at home sitting together sharing ice cream and watching television, all wrapped in the Hawaiian quilt Elizabeth had been lying in.

Cast

Production

View of the beach used in the film
View of the beach used in the film

The film began its on-location shoot in Hawaii on March 15, 2010.[6] Most of the film was shot in Honolulu and around Hanalei Bay.[7] The location used as Matt King's house lacked the banyan tree described in the book; the filmmakers solved the issue by transplanting a banyan.[7] For the scene where the King family drives up to a ridge to look over their land, the film used a 3,000-acre private cattle ranch on the south shore of Kauai, Kipu Ranch. Kaui Hart Hemmings, the author of the novel on which the movie was based, had a cameo as Matt King's secretary.

The private boarding school attended by Alex King was depicted as Mid-Pacific Institute, which is in Honolulu, Oʻahu. Kaui Hart Hemmings stated that Hawaii Preparatory Academy, which is located in Kamuela, Hawaiʻi (the Big Island), was the inspiration for the private boarding school.[8]

Post-production began on June 14, and continued into February 2011.[9] It screened at the Telluride, Toronto[10] and New York film festivals and was originally scheduled to have a limited release on December 16, 2011, but was moved to November 23, 2011[11] and then November 18, 2011.[1][12]

The soundtrack uses Hawaiian music, featuring artists including Gabby Pahinui, Ray Kane, Keola Beamer, Lena Machado, Sonny Chillingworth, Jeff Peterson, Makana, Dennis Kamakahi.[13], and Danny Carvalho.

Reception

Box office

The Descendants opened in North America on November 16, 2011 in a limited release in 29 theaters and grossed $1,190,096 averaging $41,038 per theater and ranking 10th at the box office. The film then had its wide release on December 9 in 876 theaters and grossed $4,380,138 averaging $5,000 per theater and ranking 7th at the box office. The film was in cinemas for 156 days and its widest release in the United States was 2,038 theaters. The film ended up earning $82,584,160 domestically and $94,659,025 internationally for a total of $177,243,185.[4]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, The Descendants received a rating of 89%, based on 249 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Funny, moving, and beautifully acted, The Descendants captures the unpredictable messiness of life with eloquence and uncommon grace."[14] Metacritic gives the film a score of 84 out of 100 based on 43 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[15]

Top ten lists

The Descendants has appeared on the following critics' top ten lists for the best films of 2011:

Critic Publication Rank
Todd McCarthy The Hollywood Reporter 1st[16]
Betsy Sharkey Los Angeles Times 1st[16]
Don Kaye MSN Movies 1st[16]
Lou Lumenick New York Post 1st[16]
Stephen Holden The New York Times 1st[16]
Marshall Fine Hollywood & Fine 1st[16]
Joe Neumaier Daily News 2nd[16]
Ann Hornaday The Washington Post 2nd[17]
Peter Travers Rolling Stone 3rd[18]
Corben Carpenter Clear Lake 3rd[16]
Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune 4th[16]
Anne Thompson IndieWire 4th[16]
Peter Rainer The Christian Science Monitor 5th[16]
Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly 6th[16]
Sean Axmaker MSN Movies 6th[16]
David Denby The New Yorker 7th[16]
Peter Hartlaub San Francisco Chronicle 7th[16]
Jaime N. Christley Slant Magazine 7th[16]
Peter Paras E! Online 7th[19]
Richard T. Jameson MSN Movies 9th[16]
N/A MTV 9th[16]
Jack Gregson ScreenGeeks UK 9th[16]

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Academy Awards February 26, 2012 Best Picture Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor Nominated [20]
Best Director Alexander Payne Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role George Clooney Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Won
Best Film Editing Kevin Tent Nominated
Argentine Academy of Cinematography Arts and Sciences Awards 2012 Best Foreign Film Alexander Payne, Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor Nominated [21]
American Film Institute 2011 Movies of the Year Won [22]
Art Directors Guild 2012 Excellence in Contemporary Film Jane Anne Stewart Nominated [23]
Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts January 27, 2012 Best Film – International Nominated [24]
Best Screenplay – International Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Nominated
Best Actor – International George Clooney Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics December 11, 2011 Best Actor George Clooney Nominated [25]
Best Use of Music in a Film Nominated
British Academy Film Awards February 12, 2012 Best Film Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor Nominated [26]
Best Actor George Clooney Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Nominated
Casting Society of America 2012 Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Big Budget Drama Feature John Jackson, John McAlary Nominated [27]
Chicago Film Critics Association December 19, 2011 Best Picture Nominated [28][29]
Best Director Alexander Payne Nominated
Best Actor George Clooney Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Nominated
Most Promising Performer Shailene Woodley Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 12, 2012 Best Picture Nominated [30]
Best Actor George Clooney Won
Best Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley Nominated
Best Young Actor/Actress Shailene Woodley Nominated
Best Acting Ensemble Cast Nominated
Best Director Alexander Payne Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society 2011 Best Film Nominated [31]
Best Actor George Clooney Nominated
Breakthrough Performance Shailene Woodley Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle 2011 Best Picture Won 2011[32]
Best Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Won
Golden Globes January 15, 2012 Best Picture – Drama Won [33]
Best Director Alexander Payne Nominated
Best Actor – Drama George Clooney Won
Best Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley Nominated
Best Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Nominated
Grammy Awards February 10, 2013 Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media Nominated [34]
Independent Spirit Awards February 25, 2012 Best Film Nominated [35]
Best Director Alexander Payne Nominated
Best Supporting Female Shailene Woodley Won
Best Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 11, 2011 Best Film Won [36]
Best Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Nominated
MTV Movie Awards June 3, 2012 Best Breakthrough Performance Shailene Woodley Won [37]
National Board of Review 2011 Top 10 Films Won [38]
Best Actor George Clooney Won
Best Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Won
New York Film Critics Online December 11, 2011 Best Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Won [39]
Online Film Critics Society January 2, 2012 Best Picture Nominated [40]
Best Actor George Clooney Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Nominated
Palm Springs International Film Festival January 5 – January 16, 2012 Chairman's Award George Clooney (Also for The Ides of March) Won [41]
Producers Guild of America January 21, 2012 Best Theatrical Motion Picture Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor Nominated [42]
Screen Actors Guild January 29, 2012 Best Ensemble Beau Bridges, George Clooney, Robert Forster, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, Shailene Woodley Nominated [43]
Best Actor George Clooney Nominated
Satellite Awards December 18, 2011 Best Film – Drama Won [44]
Best Actor George Clooney Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Judy Greer Nominated
Best Director Alexander Payne Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Won
Best Editing Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association December 5, 2011 Best Actor George Clooney Won [45]
Best Adapted Screenplay Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash Won
Best Film Nominated
Best Director Alexander Payne Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Shailene Woodley Nominated

References

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External links

This page was last edited on 19 October 2019, at 04:15
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