The Descendants

Synopsis: Matt King's family has lived in Hawaii for generations. His extended family - namely he and his many cousins - own 25,000 acres of undeveloped land on Kauai held in trust, which ends in seven years. The easiest thing for the family to do is sell the land before the seven years is up, which is all the talk in the state, as, to whom they sell the property could very well change the face of Kauai. Despite the vast wealth that comes with the land, Matt has decided to live solely on what he earns as a Honolulu lawyer. However, Matt has not had a perfect life living in Hawaiian paradise as many believe. He and his wife Elizabeth were having problems in their marriage. She recently got into a boating accident which has placed her in a coma. Their seventeen year old daughter Alex is in boarding school on the big island since they couldn't handle her rebellion, which was made all the worse by an argument of an unknown nature between mother and daughter during Alex's last visit home. And their t
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Alexander Payne
Production: Fox Searchlight Pictures
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 66 wins & 142 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
115 min

My friends on the mainland think just

because I live in Hawaii, I live in paradise.

Like a permanent vacation.

We're all just out here sipping mai tais,

shaking our hips, and catching waves.

Are they insane?

Do they think we're immune to life?

How can they possibly think

our families are less screwed up...

... our cancers less fatal...

... our heartaches less painful?

Hell, I haven't been on a surfboard

in 15 years.

For the last 23 days...

... Ive been living in a paradise of

IVs and urine bags and tracheal tubes.


Paradise can go f*** itself.

This is Elizabeth

Thorson King, my wife.

Twenty-three days ago...

... she was launched from a powerboat

during a race and hit her head.

Almost drowned.

When I heard about the accident and

about the coma, I wasn't even in town.

I was on Maui, on business,

and we hadn't spoken in three days.

In a way,

we hadn't really spoken in months.

If you're doing this to get my

attention, Liz, it's working.

I'm ready now.

I'm ready to talk.

I'm ready to change.

I'm ready to be a real husband

and a real father.

Just wake up.

Please, Liz, just wake up.

Hey, Noe, what's up?

Matt, Scottie's

teacher's on the phone.

She says it's urgent.

Okay, put her on.

We don't think these photographs...

...are appropriate for Scottie to

be sharing with her classmates.

Some of them went home quite disturbed,

and we got some angry calls from parents.

Yeah, she's kind of been going to town

on this whole picture-taking thing.

- I had no idea.

- Mr. King, we see this every day.

Children acting out in school

when something is wrong at home.

And your family

is facing a devastating crisis.

Have you been engaging Scottie in talking

about everything that's going on?

Yes, yes, absolutely.

Encouraging her to express her feelings?

- That's crucial.

- Mm-hm. I understand.

What's the matter with you, showing

those pictures of Mom for your art project?

I'm a photographer, Dad,

a real photographer.

No. You're overdoing it,

is what you're doing.

I saw it in a book.

Some famous photographer lady

took pictures of her mom in the hospital...

...while she was dying,

and they're considered art.

That's what I'm doing.

First of all, your mother is very sick,

but she isn't dying.

And second of all, we don't share

personal stuff with strangers.

What's going on with your mom

is private.

- I'm hungry. Can we get burgers?

- No.

The last time I took care of Scottie

by myself was when she was 3.

Now she's 10, and I have

no idea what to do with her.

But I wanna eat now, not in an hour.

And with Elizabeth in the

hospital, she's testing me.

I'm the backup parent,

the understudy.

This is Matt King. I'm returning your call.

How can I help you?

It's your daughter Scottie.

She's been texting some awful things to my

daughter, Lani, and I'd like her to stop.

- Huh.

- Here's the latest one:

"We all know you grew pubes

over the summer."

I mean, my daughter can't help it if

she's developing a little early for her age.

- You think that's nice?

- Well, that's not like her at all.

She's usually very sweet.

As you may know, her mother isn't well.

Maybe this is how she's dealing with it.

I'm very sorry about

your family situation, Mr. King...

... but my daughter comes home

from school in tears.

Yeah, no, I get it. I'm sorry.

Scottie's the one

who should be sorry.

I want her to come

over and apologize...

... and I don't ever want her

to text my daughter again.

If she doesn't apologize,

I'll take it up with the dean.

You can't buy your way out of this.

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Alexander Payne

Alexander Payne is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer, known for the films Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants, and Nebraska. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Descendants" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 30 Jun 2022. <>.

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