The Descendants (2011)

The Descendants 2011tt1033575.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Descendants (2011)
  • Rate: 7.4/10 total 112,979 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 9 December 2011 (USA)
  • Runtime: 115 min
  • Filming Location: Honolulu, O'ahu, Hawaii, USA
  • Budget: $20,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $82,624,961(USA)(29 April 2012)
  • Director: Alexander Payne
  • Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller|See full cast and crew
  • Soundtrack: Wonderland
  • Sound Mix: Datasat | SDDS | Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Daughters | Boating Accident | Affair | Coma | Lawyer

Writing Credits By:

  • Alexander Payne (screenplay) and
  • Nat Faxon (screenplay) &
  • Jim Rash (screenplay)
  • Kaui Hart Hemmings (novel)

Known Trivia

  • Amanda Seyfried auditioned for the part of the older daughter.
  • George Clooney wanted to play the role of ‘Jack’ in Sideways, Alexander Payne’s last film. Payne turned him down, saying that he wanted someone lesser known for the role.
  • When the King family are at Lihue airport in Kauai, ‘Matt King’ tells his cousin that it’s “just a little holoholo.” In the Hawaiian language, “holoholo” means “to go out,” usually for a leisurely drive or other vehicular excursion. In the next sequence as the family rides in the cousin’s jeep, lyrics in the musical cue include the phrase “holoholo ka’a,” which means “going for a ride in a car.”
  • Mikandrew Perdaris was considered for the role of ‘Sid’.

Goofs: Continuity: When Matt is running on the beach and passes Brian Speer, he is wearing shoes. But after running after Brian and then back to his (Matt's) place, Matt is running barefoot.

Plot: A land baron tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident. Full summary »  »

Story: With his wife Elizabeth on life support after a boating accident, Hawaiian land baron Matt King takes his daughters on a trip from Oahu to Kauai to confront the man who was having an affair with Elizabeth before her misfortune.Written by realndn06  


Synopsis: Matt King (George Clooney) is a Honolulu-based lawyer and the sole trustee of a family trust that controls 25,000 acres of pristine land on the island of Kaua’i. The trust will expire in seven years because of the rule against perpetuities, so the King family has decided to sell the land to Kaua’i native Don Holitzer for development. Just before family members are ready to formally endorse the deal, which Matt favors, a boating accident near Waikk renders Matt’s wife, Elizabeth, comatose.

Matt and Elizabeth have two daughters, 10-year-old Scottie (Amara Miller) and 17-year-old Alex (Shailene Woodley). Matt is not very close to his daughters and refers to himself as the "back-up parent." With Elizabeth in a coma at Queen’s Hospital, he is forced to confront Scottie’s inappropriate behavior with other children and Alex’s destructive behaviors.

Matt learns that Elizabeth will never awaken from her coma, which means that under the terms of her living will she must be disconnected shortly from life support. He tells Alex, but not Scottie, that Elizabeth will not recover and must be allowed to die. Alex tells her father that Elizabeth was having an affair at the time of the accident. Matt confronts two family friends, Kai and Mark, and learns that Elizabeth’s lover is Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard).

Matt decides to tell Brian that Elizabeth will soon be dead to give him a chance to visit her while she’s still alive. He discovers that Brian is a real estate agent currently vacationing on Kaua’i. After telling the family of Elizabeth’s terminal prognosis, Matt, along with the girls and Alex’s slacker friend Sid (Nick Krause), travels to Kaua’i to find Brian.

Matt goes jogging on the beach and passes a man that he recognizes as Brian. He trails him and sees him enter a cottage, owned by Matt’s cousin, Hugh (Beau Bridges). Hugh tells him that Brian is Don Holitzer’s brother-in-law, and if Matt and his family sell the land to Holitzer, Brian stands to gain a lot of money from commissions when the land is developed.

Matt goes to the cottage and introduces himself as Elizabeth’s husband. He tells Brian that he is there to let him know that Elizabeth will die in a few days and he wants to give Brian a chance to say goodbye. Brian says that while Elizabeth loved him, the affair was only a fling for him, and he loves his wife and family. He tells Matt he is sorry for the pain he caused.

Matt meets with his many cousins to vote on the fate of the family’s 25,000 acres. The majority vote for Don Holitzer, but Matt has second thoughts and decides to keep the land and find a different solution. Shocked, Hugh tells Matt that he and the other cousins may take legal action, but Matt is undeterred.

At Queen’s Hospital, Elizabeth is taken off life support. Her father visits and tells Matt he should have been a more generous and loving husband to Elizabeth, whom he describes as a good and faithful wife. Matt agrees with him, choosing to not disclose the details of Elizabeth’s affair to her father. Later, Julie Speer (Judy Greer) arrives, telling Matt she is now aware of the tryst between Elizabeth and her husband. Julie forgives Elizabeth, even though she wants to hate her for destroying her family. Alex and Scottie say their final goodbyes, then leave Matt alone with Elizabeth. Finally coming to terms with his wife’s betrayal, Matt tenderly kisses her and tells her goodbye. Later, Matt, Alex, and Scottie scatter Elizabeth’s ashes in the ocean off Waikiki. The film closes with the three curled up on the living room couch, wearing Elizabeth’s hospital blanket, eating ice cream, and watching March of the Penguins.

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Tracy Boyd known as associate producer
  • Jim Burke known as producer
  • George Parra known as co-producer
  • Alexander Payne known as producer
  • Jim Taylor known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • George Clooney known as Matt King
  • Shailene Woodley known as Alexandra King
  • Amara Miller known as Scottie King
  • Nick Krause known as Sid
  • Patricia Hastie known as Elizabeth King
  • Grace A. Cruz known as Scottie's Teacher
  • Kim Gennaula known as School Counselor
  • Karen Kuioka Hironaga known as Barb Higgins
  • Carmen Kaichi known as Lani Higgins
  • Kaui Hart Hemmings known as Matt's Secretary Noe
  • Beau Bridges known as Cousin Hugh
  • Matt Corboy known as Cousin Ralph
  • Matt Esecson known as Cousin Hal
  • Michael Ontkean known as Cousin Milo
  • Stanton Johnston known as Cousin Stan
  • Jon McManus known as Cousin Six (as Jonathan McManus)
  • Hugh Foster known as Cousin Wink
  • Tiare R. Finney known as Cousin Connie
  • Tom McTigue known as Cousin Dave
  • Milt Kogan known as Dr. Johnston
  • Mary Birdsong known as Kai Mitchell
  • Rob Huebel known as Mark Mitchell
  • Laird John Hamilton known as Troy Cook (as Laird Hamilton)
  • Aileen 'Boo' Arnold known as Dorm Supervisor
  • Esther Kang known as Alex's Roommate
  • Melissa Kim known as Alex's Drunken Friend
  • Robert Forster known as Scott Thorson
  • Barbara L. Southern known as Alice 'Tutu' Thorson (as Barbara Lee Southern)
  • Celia Kenney known as Reina
  • Matthew Reese known as Buzz (as Matt Reese)
  • Zoel Turnbull known as Hotel Clerk
  • Matthew Lillard known as Brian Speer
  • Judy Greer known as Julie Speer
  • Linda Rose Herman known as Grief Counselor
  • Scott Michael Morgan known as Barry Thorson
  • Darryl K. Gonzales known as Tahiti Nui Singer (Kanak Attack)
  • Koko Kanealii known as Tahiti Nui Singer (Kanak Attack)
  • Romey 'Keola' Yokotake known as Tahiti Nui Singer (Kanak Attack)
  • Dane Justman known as Drunk Guy #2
  • Fileena Bahris known as Passenger (uncredited)
  • Paul Edney known as Bicyclist (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Julie Hewett known as makeup department head
  • Karen Iboshi Preiser known as key makeup artist
  • Debra Rego known as key hair stylist
  • Waldo Sanchez known as hair department head

Art Department:

  • Alvin S. Cabrinha Jr. known as property master
  • Jonah Chang known as carpenter
  • Brian Costa known as set dresser
  • Scott Ejercito known as assistant property master
  • Justin Fischer known as set dresser
  • Serena Rios Flores known as art department coordinator
  • Stani Franklin known as research/clearances
  • Jason Garner known as assistant art director
  • Quintin D. Gasper known as carpenter
  • Sean Hallock known as buyer
  • Alexandra Hearn known as art department assistant
  • Craig Hoffmann known as on-set dresser
  • Michael Kaahanni Jr. known as leadman
  • Eric Knight known as camera scenic
  • Nancy A. Knight known as paint foreman
  • Robert E. Knight known as head scenic painter
  • Camille Komine known as set buyer
  • Ivan M. Lizares known as carpenter
  • John Marano known as leadman
  • Shanna Norton known as set buyer
  • Alvin Pittler known as general foreman
  • Isaia Robins known as greens lead
  • Kenneth K. Sato known as construction coordinator
  • Sam Sternthall known as set dresser
  • Darrell Tachibana known as greens foreman
  • Liloa Wong known as greens coordinator


Production Companies:

  • Fox Searchlight Pictures (presents)
  • Ad Hominem Enterprises

Other Companies:

  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera dollies
  • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
  • EMS Payroll  extras payroll
  • FotoKem  Avids
  • Happy Feet Foley  foley services
  • Hawaii Media  grip and lighting equipment
  • Intelligent Media  international monitoring agency
  • Sony Classical  soundtrack
  • Sound for Film  sound post-production


  • Fox Searchlight Pictures (2011) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (2011) (worldwide) (all media)
  • 20th Century Fox Australia (2012) (Australia) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Portugal (2012) (Portugal) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Uruguay (2012) (Uruguay) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Israel (2012) (Israel) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox (2012) (Portugal) (theatrical)
  • Tatrafilm (2012) (Slovakia) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Iceland (2012) (Iceland) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox España (2012) (Spain) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Film de Mexico (2012) (Mexico) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Netherlands (2012) (Netherlands) (theatrical) (through Warner Bros.)
  • 20th Century Fox (2012) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox (2011) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox (2012) (France) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox (2012) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox (2012) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox de Argentina (2012) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • Bontonfilm (2012) (Czech Republic) (theatrical)
  • Forum Cinemas (2011) (Lithuania) (theatrical)
  • Odeon (2012) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • Twentieth Century Fox C.I.S. (2012) (Russia) (theatrical)
  • Warner Bros. (2012) (Netherlands) (theatrical) (through)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2012) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2012) (Argentina) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2012) (USA) (DVD)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2012) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (2012) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (2012) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Custom Film Effects

Visual Effects by:

  • Mark Dornfeld known as visual effects supervisor
  • Michele Ferrone known as visual effects producer
  • Paulina Kuszta known as visual effects coordinator
  • Mikyoung Hahm known as titles designer & animator (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • USA 2 September 2011 (Telluride Film Festival) (premiere)
  • Canada 10 September 2011 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • USA 16 October 2011 (New York Film Festival)
  • Belgium 22 October 2011 (Gent International Film Festival)
  • USA 26 October 2011 (Austin Film Festival)
  • Canada November 2011 (limited)
  • Greece 4 November 2011 (Thessaloniki International Film Festival)
  • USA 16 November 2011 (Los Angeles, California)
  • USA 16 November 2011 (New York City, New York)
  • Canada 18 November 2011 (Toronto)
  • USA 18 November 2011 (limited)
  • Italy 2 December 2011 (Turin Film Festival)
  • USA 9 December 2011
  • United Arab Emirates 10 December 2011 (Dubai International Film Festival)
  • Australia 12 January 2012
  • Uruguay 13 January 2012 (limited)
  • Czech Republic 19 January 2012
  • Israel 19 January 2012
  • Portugal 19 January 2012
  • Slovakia 19 January 2012
  • Iceland 20 January 2012
  • Spain 20 January 2012
  • Norway 21 January 2012 (Tromsø International Film Festival)
  • France 25 January 2012
  • Chile 26 January 2012
  • Germany 26 January 2012
  • Greece 26 January 2012
  • Hong Kong 26 January 2012
  • India 26 January 2012
  • Kazakhstan 26 January 2012
  • Kuwait 26 January 2012
  • Russia 26 January 2012
  • Singapore 26 January 2012
  • Brazil 27 January 2012
  • Ireland 27 January 2012
  • Malta 27 January 2012
  • Norway 27 January 2012
  • Sweden 27 January 2012
  • UK 27 January 2012
  • Argentina 2 February 2012
  • Netherlands 2 February 2012
  • Peru 2 February 2012
  • Colombia 3 February 2012
  • Finland 3 February 2012
  • Mexico 3 February 2012
  • Romania 3 February 2012
  • Belgium 8 February 2012
  • Estonia 10 February 2012
  • Philippines 15 February 2012
  • Denmark 16 February 2012
  • Hungary 16 February 2012
  • Lebanon 16 February 2012
  • Italy 17 February 2012
  • Paraguay 17 February 2012
  • Poland 17 February 2012
  • Croatia 23 February 2012
  • Slovenia 23 February 2012
  • Lithuania 24 February 2012
  • Turkey 24 February 2012
  • Serbia 8 March 2012
  • Bulgaria 9 March 2012
  • Vietnam 13 April 2012
  • Japan 18 May 2012

MPAA: Rated R for language including some sexual references


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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