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YMMV / The Descendants

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For the Web Serial Novel.

  • Archive Binge: Even updating with only one chapter (4-6 chapters making up an issue), the main series has fifty issues in it before you even get to the minis, ones shots and other content.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Fellgaze's power places anyone that looks into his eyes under the effects of this. While under the effects of it, Cyn sees all her loved ones slaughtered messily while Vorpal experiences her parents and herself dying of a plague.

For the Film:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Did Elizabeth truly love Brian? She was an adrenaline junkie who abruptly cheated on Matt and then seemed to immediately ask Brian to leave his wife. Was she really in love, or did she just love the drama a divorce would create?
    • Matt's kiss to Julie after he has had it out with Brian - is that his little bit of revenge? Or is it a gesture of sympathy after getting to know how sweet Julie is? Or possibly an attempt to clue her in that something is wrong without having to be the one to tell her (and therefore force Brian to confess)?
  • Award Snub:
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  • Adaptation Displacement: The movie was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2011. The book didn't even have it's own Wikipedia page until after the movie came out.
  • Broken Base: George Clooney as Matt is very divisive. Some loved the Playing Against Type and felt he pulled it off incredibly well. Others felt he wasn't at all believable as a normal family man.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Shailene Woodley got a lot of great press for her performance as Alex, with many considering her to be the standout. When the movie is headlined by George Clooney, that's saying something.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Shailene Woodley unfortunately makes a habit out of family or loved ones dying in front of her.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the novel, Scottie is described as wearing a shirt that reads "MRS. CLOONEY" (yes, in all caps) when she first visits the hospital.
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    • Seeing Shailene Woodley being reprimanded for cursing so much is hilarious if you watch The Spectacular Now - where her character has to be taught how to curse.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Elizabeth's father is a jerk to everyone, and has no problems with telling Matt to his face that everything is his fault. Then you remember that his wife has dementia and he's going to have to say goodbye to his daughter soon. Matt and Alex for this reason never tell him about the affair.
    • Alex herself initially appears to be a Bratty Teenage Daughter, but the reasons are far more complex. At the age of seventeen, she discovered that her mother was having an affair. She actually did the mature thing and confronted her about it, only to have her pedestal broken of one of her parents. She angsted about whether or not she should tell her father - but then the accident happened.
  • Memetic Mutation: This is the movie that won Dean Pelton an Oscar.note 
    • The shot of Matt peeking over a hedge after finding out where Brian is staying was adapted into the "SOON" meme format... with the caption (what else?) "Cloon."
  • One-Scene Wonder: Matthew Lillard and Judy Greer have much less screen time than you'd expect, given how highly praised their scenes are. Lillard is only seen in a picture and in passing on the beach for the first two acts - before getting one long scene towards the end. Greer has two smaller scenes before her big scene in the climax. Both equally memorable in their own ways.
  • She Really Can Act:
    • Shailene Woodley more then earned her stripes because of this film. It earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
    • Judy Greer impressed quite a lot of people with her performance as Julie.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • The movie tries to play Elizabeth and Matt as equally messed up people, with plenty of characters implying that their marriage had been failing for a while. But as the couple never get scenes together, Elizabeth comes across as incredibly unsympathetic given that she had an affair with a married man. By all accounts, she was the one who initiated it and kept it going. Brian at least shows remorse for what he did to Julie, but Elizabeth is in a coma for the whole movie, so we never find out if she regretted what she did. About the only redeeming thing about her is that she was at least intending to get a divorce rather than carrying on behind Matt's back.
    • One of Elizabeth's friends knew about the affair and tries to defend it when Matt busts her for it. Yes, she's thinking of her friend. But she also knew about Elizabeth potentially ruining two families and we never know if she advised her against it. Thus it's oddly cathartic when Matt fires back with the WHAM Line that Elizabeth isn't going to wake up from her coma.
  • The Woobie:
    • Poor Scottie is clearly a troubled kid - her father not having been paying much attention to her. She has no idea how to process her mother's condition and she spends the whole movie hoping in vain that she'll wake up. Matt and Alex can't bring themselves to tell her the truth about the affair because it would break her so much.
    • Julie seems to be a kind, friendly woman and loving wife. Look at how warm and affectionate she is with Alex after only just meeting her. Then remember that Brian cheated on her with a woman he didn't even love. Julie screaming that she wants to forgive Elizabeth even though she should hate her is heart-breaking.


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