Review — The Kids Are All Right

Posted: November 5, 2010 in Danny Moltrasi, Film, Reviews
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[Reviewed by: Danny Moltrasi]

"I dont think you guys should break up."

The Kids Are All Right, is a film that may end up being looked back in history as a fairly important film. It looks all set to do well in the award season, with Oscar buzz being around it for most of the year now. It also gives us a film where the two parents happen to be lesbians, but the key point here is that, in fact, this is not the key part of the film. Our characters just happen to be lesbians. This is rather, a film about parental relationships being shaken up by the introduction of another man into their family, rather than a film about a lesbian couple. The Kids Are All Right is far from perfect, but it is a good, well rounded film, with a very good heart. It seems likely to take the Oscar Best Picture spot for the quirky, ‘independent film’ that has recently been given to the likes of Little Miss Sunshine, Juno and Precious. It is debatable if these films are better or worse than The Kids Are All Right, but I think it is safe to say that The Kids Are All Right will be remembered for a longer time.

Jules (Julianne Moore) and partner Nic (Annette Bening) are parents to two children, soon off to college Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and 15 year old son Laser (Josh Hutcherson). The two children get into contact with the sperm donor who provided the sperm to their two mothers, and their family struggles to deal with this new member of the family. Paul (Mark Ruffalo), is a cool, easy-going guy who and pretty quickly wins the children over. However, the parents are far more cautious of this new man. However, things are thrown even more up in the air when Jules and Paul start a sexual fling. As the family becomes more and more broken, it is down the family to prove they are strong enough to pull through.

First of all, I have a bit of a problem with how the lesbian couple are represented in the film. Initially, we see the two women watching male-gay porn, and then later explaining to the son that sometimes women need to have their sexual fantasies ‘externalized’ via a penis. And then later on Jules is clearly far more turned on by her sexual experiences with Paul than with Nic, as their sex is far more thrilling and arousing. It seemed to me that what the audience were being told was that a lesbian couple, no matter how much in love they are, need a man in their life in order to have the sexual satisfaction they need. I highly doubt that this was intended, as it seems that this was far from the point of the movie, but it became a sticking point for me. However, the fact that them being a lesbian couple is only a background issue is what makes the film stand out and that bit different. It is important that it is shown to be normal, rather than something that has to be an issue.

The performances of all the main characters were very good and solid, and Julianne Moore may get an acting nomination for her performance, as she is the stand out performer. Director Lisa Cholodenko provides a solid base for the film, and gives us a story that never really drags, however there are very few flings of artistry, which maybe could have boosted the film. The script itself, also written by Cholodenko is pretty solid as well, however the characters of the kids best friends not only seem slightly pointless, but are also extremely annoying and unlikable. This mildly detracts from the film as a whole, in what was an otherwise strong piece of scripting.

The Kids Are All Right is a very good film, however I do think there are many films this year that are better. I don’t really get all the Oscar buzz around this film, but it is very strong and provides an interesting subject matter. It is far from perfect, but remains interesting throughout its running time. This may be the kind of film that grows better with time, but one will have to wait and see.

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Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    Without any humor in the story, this would be a very sad story about a destructive mix of personalities causing havoc in a family. But the film does have a lot of humor in it.

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