Rotten Tomatoes

Movies / TV

    Celebrity

      No Results Found

      View All
      Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

      Descendant

      PG Released Oct 21, 2022 1h 49m Documentary List
      100% Tomatometer 69 Reviews 65% Audience Score 100+ Ratings Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown ("The Order of Myths", "The Great Invisible") returns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for and historic discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans. After a century of secrecy and speculation, the 2019 discovery of the ship turns attention toward the descendant community of Africatown and presents a moving portrait of a community actively grappling with and fighting to preserve their heritage while examining what justice looks like today. Read More Read Less Watch on Netflix Stream Now

      Where to Watch

      Descendant

      Netflix

      Watch Descendant with a subscription on Netflix.

      Descendant

      What to Know

      Critics Consensus

      Descendant serves as a fantastically compelling example of how history can be reclaimed -- and a stirring tribute to a resilient community.

      Read Critics Reviews

      Critics Reviews

      View All (69) Critics Reviews
      Scott Tobias The Reveal (Substack) Has the self-awareness not merely to put Black voices at the center, where they belong, but to underline those moments when white people step up and intervene in the situation—sometimes as allies and advocates, sometimes to stake their own claim. Rated: 4/5 Dec 19, 2022 Full Review Tim Grierson Screen International Boasting a wealth of vivid subjects, this new picture illustrates in clear terms how the country’s past sins still stain communities, the damage perhaps permanent. Dec 14, 2022 Full Review Adam Kempenaar Filmspotting We meet so many people in Descendant who could be the primary subjects of their own documentaries, and Brown deftly peels back the layers of all of their stories and makes them heard. Rated: 4/5 Nov 4, 2022 Full Review Jonita Davis The Black Cape (Medium) This one documentary even debunks the threats to remove Black history from schools. Watch 'Descendant' and then talk to me about the hazards of teaching Black history to white kids. Because the descendants of the Clotilda are not just Black people. Rated: 5/5 Mar 14, 2023 Full Review Jared Mobarak Hey, Have You Seen ...? The result is a powerful account of a living history. That which happened doesn't just end because time passes. The consequences and pain reverberate through generations. Rated: 8/10 Jan 20, 2023 Full Review Sarah Boslaugh TheArtsStl [Brown] finds a remarkable network of shared oral history, passed on from one generation to the next, despite repeated warnings to not tell their story. Rated: 7/10 Jan 3, 2023 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (19) audience reviews
      Jason R I've never heard of this - I've got no real expectations, but it doesn't exactly sound like a giggle. It tells the story of the Clotilda/Clotilde (the spelling seems uncertain), a slave ship organised for a bet by a white landowner after slavery had been abolished. This brought 110 Africans to Alabama - and was then burned and sunk leaving no evidence it ever existed, except for a load of people who'd been threatened with lynching if they ever spoke about it. But they told their children, and their children's children, and - well, you get the idea! And now their 6x great-grandchildren are telling us their stories. Unfortunately, because the ship was burned and sank, there's absolutely no physical evidence that any of this happened - so part of the film focusses on efforts to find the wreck, but when you look at a map of the Mobile river you can't help but feel their chances are somewhat limited (no spoilers as to whether they found it though!). And they also interview quite a few people that have no interest in finding it - as one lady puts it "how do I put this? I just don't care". But might she change her mind? The film also considers other elements of the history of the community - it makes an interesting point that a lot of the surrounding land is used for heavy industry which has resulted in various health issues - and the land is owned by the descendants of the landowner that originally brought the slaves over, so history (once again) shows its nasty habit of repeating itself. And then talk turns to reparations... What are reparations supposed to provide? Justice? Punishment? Closure? Whilst crimes can't be inherited by descendant, assets and hardship certainly can, so what value should be placed on them? If reparations are made, who do they go to? And given that the landowner's descendants have absolutely no interest in engaging in any dialogue, how could they even be possible? The film certainly poses some interesting questions although it probably won't surprise you hear that it doesn't answer them - that's probably asking a bit too much from a 109 minute Netflix documentary. The film does manage to end on a positive note though - various people have hope for the future, whatever it might hold. However, I also have to report that the interesting questions don't fill up a huge amount of those 109 minutes either - it's all very worthy, but unfortunately it's not exactly thrilling. It's most a lot of people just talking about stuff that means something to them but not a lot to anyone else or reading from a book. There's also a lot of repeated use of the same historical footage - it feels unfortunately like filler. I feel a bit mean being nasty about what it obviously an important film for a lot of people - I know it never hurts for me to be educated in this stuff, but I'm afraid that just didn't really do it for me. It's diverting in places with some nice countryside (balanced by some very ugly urban scenes), but it's no more than that, I'm afraid. If, after that glowing recommendation, you still fancy watching it then it's on Netflix but there's much more interesting stuff on there. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 09/25/23 Full Review Isia D O Captivating and intriguing. More uncovered history that tells the true story of America. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/11/23 Full Review Renaldo D Documentary rich in history, but it is slow and tiring. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 04/23/23 Full Review Audience Member Reeeaalllly slow. It felt like it was 3hrs long, That's not to say it isn't interesting and deserving of your attention, or that it isn't informative… it is Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/25/23 Full Review clare o This is the most powerful documentary I have seen in a long time. Excellent! A must-see. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review ian r Extraordinary film, powerful, original and important. Very glad to have seen it! Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      95% 86% Found 100% 88% Three Minutes - A Lengthening TRAILER for Three Minutes - A Lengthening 97% 81% The Territory 95% 96% Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street TRAILER for Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street 82% 75% Silver Dollar Road Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown ("The Order of Myths", "The Great Invisible") returns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for and historic discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans. After a century of secrecy and speculation, the 2019 discovery of the ship turns attention toward the descendant community of Africatown and presents a moving portrait of a community actively grappling with and fighting to preserve their heritage while examining what justice looks like today.
      Director
      Margaret Brown
      Producer
      Margaret Brown, Essie Chambers, Kyle Martin
      Screenwriter
      Margaret Brown, Kern Jackson
      Distributor
      Netflix
      Production Co
      Higher Ground Productions, Two One Five Entertainment, Participant
      Rating
      PG (Brief Language|Thematic Material|Smoking Images)
      Genre
      Documentary
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Oct 21, 2022, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Oct 21, 2022
      Runtime
      1h 49m
      Sound Mix
      Dolby Digital
      Most Popular at Home Now