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''The Descendants'' is a 2011 dramedy film, directed by AlexanderPayne and based on a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. The film stars Creator/GeorgeClooney as a Hawaii based lawyer. When his wife is in a boating accident and is left in a coma, he has to care for his daughters on his own, despite knowing little about them, while fighting a breakdown when he's told his wife's living will demands she be taken off life support. When one of his daughters reveals that his wife was cheating on him, he begins a journey with his daughters (and one of his daughter's 'friends') to find the man, partially to confront him and partially to tell him he should come say goodbye before she dies.

The film is Alexander Payne's first film since 2004's ''{{Sideways}}'' and has been extremely well received by critics, with particular praise given to Clooney's performance and the well written screenplay (partly written by [[Series/{{Community}} Jim Rash]], [[HiddenDepths who knew?]]).
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!!The film provides examples of:

* AcademyAward: It won Best Adapted Screenplay at the 84th Academy Awards. Much like Alexander Payne's [[{{Sideways}} last film]].
* AdaptationNameChange: Matt's wife's name was originally Joanie in the novel. It was changed to Elizabeth in the film.
* AlohaHawaii: Played with; although there's lots of beautiful scenery (it's still Hawaii), it mainly focuses on the people who actually live there, for whom life isn't always like what the tourists would expect.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Cousin Hugh is a friendly and nice guy (he's played by Beau Bridges). He also makes it clear that if Matt [[spoiler: doesn't sell the land, he will come after him legally]]. Matt even {{Lampshades}} this in his narration:
--> Don't be fooled. In Hawaii some of the most powerful people look like bums and stuntmen.
* BittersweetEnding
* BlatantLies: Several times people comment that they're sure that Elizabeth will pull through and Matt agrees [[spoiler: even though he's been told she's being taken off life support and will die soon.]]
* BrutalHonesty: [[spoiler: Matt asks Brian if he's ever been in Matt's bedroom during the affair with Elizabeth. When Matt says he has once, Matt tells him he should've lied. Brian then corrects himself: "Alright, twice."]]
** When annoyed about Elizabeth's friend justifying the affair, Matt harshly tells her [[spoiler: that Elizabeth is not going to wake up, so there's no need to keep defending her]], reducing her to tears.
* CallingYourAttacks: Elizabeth's father when Sid laughs at his wife's dementia: "I'm going to hit you." *punch*
* CastingGag: A running joke during the early parts of the book is Matt expressing bewilderment at Scottie's choice of t-shirts. One of which simply features the words "Mrs Clooney".
* CaptainObvious: When Elizabeth's friend points out Matt's feeling angry about learning of Elizabeth's affair, he snarks, "You have a very keen sense of observation."
* ComedicSociopathy:
** A weird example. Matt isn't intentionally cruel or unfeeling, he just literally has no idea how to connect with his kids.
** Sid, who finds Matt's mother-in-law's dementia quite hilarious, and gets a punch in the face for the trouble. He's also not malicious, however -- just very, ''very'' stupid.
*** In Sid's "defense," he was possibly very stoned at the time (he seems to sober up as the film progresses).
* ConverseWithTheUnconscious: Matt encourages lots of people to visit and speak to Elizabeth while she is in the hospital, and before bringing in the kids he has one last fight with her. Played with in that [[spoiler:Matt already knows for some time that Elizabeth's condition will not improve, and in fact will only decline as time passes, so her death is inevitable. He still publicly speaks in hopeful terms for most of the movie, mostly to avoid awkward conversations]].
* DemotedToExtra: Scottie had a somewhat larger role in the novel (she confronts Troy at the club, and has several moments of acting out by hurting herself) than the film.
* DudeNotFunny: In-Universe example. Sid laughs uncontrollably at Elizabeth's mother's dementia. Her father eventually punches him in the face.
** A subversion is when Matt calls Sid a retard, and Sid, seemingly outraged, retorts that his brother is mentally disabled. Turns out Sid is just joking.
* DumbassHasAPoint: Sid tells Matt not to use retarded in a derogatory fashion. He claims to have a mentally-challenged brother (although he was lying) but he's still right.
* DysfunctionJunction: Matt is a workaholic who can't connect with his kids; Elizabeth, before her accident, cheated on Matt, was a self-absorbed adrenaline junkie (and was implied to have a lot of other problems as well); Alex drinks, used to do drugs and [[ReallyGetsAround really gets around]], and has issues believing her parents, or at least her mother, don't care about her; and Scottie is involved in (at least mild) cyberbullying, has a friend who throws parties involving porn videos, and shows pictures of her comatose mother to her class.
* FromTheMouthsOfBabes: Thanks to being around Alex so much, little Scottie has an impressionable potty mouth herself.
-->'''Scottie''': She's a TWAT! TWAT! TWAT! TWAT! TWAT! TWAT!
** Reina (a minor character in both the movie and novel and Scottie's friend) is a fountain of this trope, and as much or more of where Scottie gets it from as Alex.
* GoodAdulteryBadAdultery: Played with; Matt angrily shouts down one of his wife's friends when she tries to justify the affair with the "she was lonely" excuse, and while it's suggested she did have sympathetic motives to some degree it's also made clear that her actions were still selfish and damaging to her family.
* HiddenDepths: Alex comes off as a typical bratty, rebellious daughter for the first half-hour, with little care to her mother's plight. Then we learn it's because she caught her mother sleeping with another man and was disgusted at how her mother threw the family away while denying the whole thing.
* HypocriticalHumor: Matt tells Alex to watch her language, then seconds later calls Sid a "little fuck".
* IdleRich: Matt and his family are descended from the first white land owners of Hawaii. While Matt has left almost all of his money in a trust, the rest of his family are deep in debt and are dead set on selling the rest of the land to pay off their debts. By the end [[spoiler: Matt has [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething changed his mind]]]].
* MatchCut: Shots of the back of George Clooney's head at the big family meeting and at his wife's sickbed.
* MsFanservice: Alexandra.
* NotSoDifferent: Matt has a moment like this with [[spoiler: Sid]] of all people.
* NotSoStoic: Matt is usually very calm. It makes the moments where he finally breaks all the more noticeable.
* OhCrap: Brian damn near shits himself when finally confronted by Matt and Alex.
* ParentsAsPeople: Matt is a workaholic who is struggling to connect with his children. Elizabeth was a self-absorbed adrenaline junkie who cheated on her husband and her refusal to admit the affair caused problems with her oldest daughter.
* PleaseWakeUp: Matt does this in voiceover to his wife, silently promising her that he'll do everything for her if she'll just wake up.
* PosthumousCharacter: Sort of.
* SceneryPorn: Even the most basic shots are gorgeous to look at. It is Hawaii after all. (Subverted in the opening montage, with various shots of what living in Hawaii can look like.)
* ShoutOut: At the end the family watches ''Film/MarchOfThePenguins'' together. Bonus: the scene that they are watching features Creator/MorganFreeman narrating about how Antarctica was once a tropical paradise, and slowly moved south and became covered in ice as the tectonic plates shifted. Matt and his kids live in the tropical paradise of {{Hawaii}}. Nothing lasts forever...
* SoundtrackDissonance: All. The. Time
* TheStoic: Matt.
* TroublingUnchildhoodBehavior: Scottie's friend who throws parties where she shows off her father's porn stash.
* TheUnfairSex: {{Defied|Trope}} after we learn that Elizabeth cheated on Matt.
-->'''Kai''': Your marriage...she was lonely.
-->'''Matt''': So what, you're gonna go spouting cliches about women now? Nothing's ever a woman's fault.
* YourCheatingHeart: Elizabeth was cheating on her husband when she had her accident with a man who himself was married. She seems to have no remorse on what she's doing to either spouses though Matt points out the marrige was basically almost dead, and wants the man to leave his wife while he is reluctant to do so. It's implied he has a much better relationship with his wife than Matt and Elizabeth did.
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