Movie Versus Book: Oscar Nominee 'The Descendants'

02/22/2012 05:26 pm ET

For each of this year's five Academy Award-nominated films that began as paperbound stories, we've found one reviewer who has only read the book, and one reviewer who has only seen the movie. We asked them about characters, plot points and dramatic moments to see how one differs from the other, and to try and ascertain which is more worthy of your time.

Yesterday, we found that the film version of Moneyball was more dramatic than the book. Today, we'll take a look at The Descendants, the sentimental George Clooney flick based on a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. In this case, the screen play doesn't seem to stray too far from the book, as both reviewers recall the same important moments and characters.

Both the novel and the film revolve around an emotionally withdrawn lawyer, Matt King, who struggles to keep his family together in the wake of his wife's comatose state and the potential loss of his ancestor's land. In both stories, comic relief is provided by his rebellious daughter's slacker boyfriend, who is brought along to hospitals and grandparent visits. But while our book reviewer recommends "The Descendants" to "contemporary literary fiction readers [and] fans of family sagas and relationship stories," our Moviefone team says the flick is best suited for "Middle-aged men."

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