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Beau Bridges

'Descendants': Rooting out troubles in paradise

'Descendants': Rooting out troubles in paradise

Many bottles of pinot noir have been sold in the seven years since director Alexander Payne's "Sideways" took moviegoers through California's wine country. His long-overdue new movie, "The Descendants," was worth the wait.

Maintaining a delicate balance between its comic and dramatic elements, "The Descendants" is one of the year's most emotionally satisfying movies.

Although some of its later scenes seem forced and its overall tone flirts with being facile, these are relatively minor reservations. The script co-written by Payne is full of perceptive observations about family life, and his quietly confident direction makes it easy...