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Still shot from the movie: The Descendants.

The Descendants

Matt King's (George Clooney) life unravels after his wife (Patricia Hastie) is seriously injured in a boating accident off the Hawaiian Islands. While attempting to connect with his daughters (Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller), the distracted father and husband has to face some painful truths about the relationships he has been neglecting. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: C+
Violence: B
Sexual Content: C
Language: D
Drugs/Alcohol: C
Run Time: 115
Theater Release: 18 Nov 2011
Video Release: 13 Mar 2012
MPAA Rating: R
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How We Determine Our Grades

After watching a movie with your children or students, we encourage parents and teachers to look for education opportunities to teach with movies. Here are a few discussion topics that can help with lesson plans or teaching in the home.

In order to protect his children from being spoiled or feeling entitled, Matt lives by the philosophy, “You give your children enough money to do something, but not enough to do nothing.” How do you feel about this idea? Does this plan protect his girls the way he hoped? Why or why not?

Why is Matt afraid to tell his younger daughter the truth about her mother’s condition? How fair is it for him to place so much responsibility on his older child? Why do you think Alex invites her friend Sid to be part of their grieving process?

As Matt tries to come to terms with Elizabeth’s choices, what petty things does he do? When is he noble? What does he learn about himself, his wife and his family as he goes through this process? How does he view these relationships by the end of the film?

How does the character of Elizabeth effect every moment of the story even though she never speaks a word? What things in your life might exert that kind of influence, even if they are silent?

This movie is based on the novel The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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