The Descendants - Summary

Based on Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel of the same name, The Descendants is a comedy-drama film. The book and movie are about the last-surviving member of the Kamehameha dynasty in Hawaii.

In 1810, King Kamehameha unites the Hawaiian Islands and establishes the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the book, the last surviving member of the Kamehameha dynasty is Princess Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop. In the movie, Matt King is a fictional heir. Hemmings’ story has its base in historical facts while part is fiction. 

In the movie, Matt King (George Clooney) is a Honolulu-based lawyer and the sole trustee to a family trust that controls 25,000 acres of land on the island of Kauai. Matt decides to sell the land to Kaua'i native Don Holitzer for development. Just before Matt closes the deal, his wife, Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie), has a boating accident which leaves her in a coma.

The Kings have two daughters, 10-year-old Scottie (Amara Miller) and 17-year-old Alex (Shailene Woodley). Matt learns that Elizabeth will never awaken from her coma and, under the terms of her living will, she must be disconnected from life support.

When Matt tells Alex the news, she reveals that Elizabeth was having an affair at the time of the accident. This causes a major rift between mother and daughter. Find out if Matt and his daughters can forgive their dying wife and mother for her infidelity.

One of Matt's friends, Mark Mitchell (Rob Huebel), tells him that Elizabeth’s lover is Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard), a real estate agent. The King family travels through the Hawaiian Islands to find Brian Speer, to tell him that Elizabeth will soon be taken off life support.

Matt finds out that Brian is Don Holitzer's brother-in-law and, if Matt sells the land to Holitzer, Brian stands to gain a lot of money from commissions. Matt faces the decision of what do to with his inheritance. Princess Bernice faced the same decision in real life.

In this story behind the movie, meet King Kamehameha and learn how he unites the Hawaii Islands. Meet the last surviving member of the Kamehameha dynasty - Princess Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop. Take a virtual tour of the Hawaii islands.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2011

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

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"The Descendants" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2011. Aug 20, 2019.
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