Film: The Kids Are All Right

Posted on December 26, 2010

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The Kids Are All Right
Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (2010)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★1/2

The Kids Are All Right is a deeply touching, moving family drama. It’s all there; the ups and downs, the rebellious and frustrated teenagers, the arguments between the uptight parents, a third party that threatens to aggravate further the harmonious household. The only difference? The parents are both female; yes, they’re lesbians, and their children were conceived by the same, anonymous sperm donor. Add into that mix the sudden appearance of said sperm donor, and you’ve got yourself a funny and emotional, yet sweet dramedy.

(You can feel the awkward tension between the mums and the ‘father’ as the children look on nervously)

The performances are terrifyingly real. Julianne Moore and Annette Bening act as if they really were a couple for the past two decades. Every word that they utter, every facial expression, seems so natural and genuine. When they discover horrifying secrets, when they are torn apart, we are heartbroken with them; it’s pure torture to watch them for fear of ourselves ending up a crying mess.

(Bening as ‘Nic’ on left, Moore as ‘Jules’ on right)

Add to that Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson as their children and you’ve got one of the greatest family performances I’ve ever witnessed. Wasikowska’s charming demeanour draws the audience in and we are pained together with her as she struggles to cope with the escalating situation. We feel for her; it’s so unfair for a girl of 18 to go through all this drama. Yet the way she handles it all shows her character’s growing maturity and proves that Wasikowska is a brilliant and rising actress. Unfortunately, Mark Ruffalo’s performance as the blood-related, socially awkward third party wasn’t on par with the rest; he just existed to be scorned and hated by the end. It’s a shame he wasn’t able to generate one bit of sympathy.

(Wasikowska as ‘Joni’ and Hutcherson as ‘Laser’)

(Mr. Socially-Awkward-and-Terrible-at-Communicating ‘Paul’ played by Ruffalo)

Is this a film about homosexuals? Far from it. The fact that the parents are lesbians is quite honestly the last thing that this film focuses on. This is a story about an every-day family, one that attempts to cope with the ins and outs of life, the various misfortunes and hardships that are dumped upon them. Through their tough, heart-wrenching journey of mistakes and meaningful lessons, Lisa Cholodenko has provided us with an authentic and heart-warming tale of morals, life and love.

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Posted in: 3.5-stars, film