The Kids Are All Right (2010) *this review contains spoilers

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I'm sorry I haven't come up with a better play on words, but this movie is just...*sigh* all right. It's a likable enough story about a family, considered unconventional, disrupted by a newcomer to the scene. In this case, the newcomer is the sperm donor who helped give life to Alice in Wonderland and the kid from Zathura. The heads of this family are Nic and Jules, a lesbian couple happily raising their two children until Mark Ruffalo, said sperm donor, comes on the scene (pardon) to complicate things. One of the lesbians momentarily abandons lesbianism to hook up with the newly-discovered patriarch. In her defense, Ruffalo is characteristically charming. And the other lesbian sings a drunken round of Joni Mitchell (with this and The Fighter, it was a good year for pivotal sing-along scenes) in order to bond with him. I don't want to give away the ghost here, but the lesson to be learned from The Kids Are All Right: Clean your hair out of the shower drain. It's more important than you'd think.


Congratulations, The Kids Are All Right, you weren't the worst Oscar-nominated film of 2010! However, to quote Annette Bening, I still kind of feel like The Kids Are All Right needed a Best Picture nomination like I, proverbially, "need a dick in my ass". But seriously, next time you're putting out the groundbreaking "lesbians are people too" flick of the year, please think twice before writing in a major plot twist that involves one of said lesbians sleeping with a dude in an effort to just be "held" by "someone". It puts a major slant on sexuality, and confirms everything written in those little pamphlets one picks up in the sanctuary at church, titled "You're Not Gay, You Just Want Attention", or something like that.

Speaking of not being gay and wanting attention, how about Annette Bening's performance in this film, huh? She's really kind of great at the whole "I Wear Glasses and Deepen My Voice Register and Cross My Arms and Cut My Hair With A Lawn Mower" kind of thing... as is Mark Ruffalo. Both of their performances are... good. Not Oscar good, but good, competent, I mean, these are GOOD actors appearing in mediocre roles. I like them both, I've loved them both at times (see American Beauty/ Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), but I'm not really seeing a lot here that I haven't seen from them before. The best performance in the movie easily goes to Julianne Moore, who is arguably the most consistent actress in film in general, and despite the fact that she's saddled with the responsibility of being the fore-mentioned "touch-deprived" lesbian, she kind of grabs the role and runs off with it. I'll spare you the details of what the film is "about", per se, because you've kind of got it figured out by the first fifteen minutes of the film (lesbian couple with kids, kids want to find out who their donor dad is, they find out, they're not alright... lesbian sleeps with donor dad... everyone's mad... kid moves off to college... kids are alright... parents are alright)... but keep an eye out for the scene where Julianne Moore turns off the TV and apologizes to her family. That's an Oscar scene. That's a good one. I would have really liked to see that clip on Oscar night.

So, The Kids Are All Right, decent performances, Julianne Moore shines, I kind of expected more from the script, needed a Best Picture nomination like I need a "dick in my ass" cause it's really not groundbreaking enough to be Best Picture fare, and Annette Bening looks like she cuts her hair with a lawn mower. All right. Alright?


The Kids Are All Right is a very entertaining and heart-felt film. However, for a film that keeps being categorized as a comedy, it feels more like a drama. Ultimately, it is a serious story about two kids who share a sperm donor father and are raised by a lesbian couple who bore one of them each. The kids seek out and get to know the sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) who then begins to adopt this newly discovered "alternative" family. At the heart of the story is how the moms come to terms with their own relationship. Thus Annette Bening and Julianne Moore carry the movie with brilliant and subtle performances and are supported by an all around great cast. Hey, even the kids are all right. Bening, however, steals the show with possibly her most delicate and nuanced performance to date. She is wholly believable as a lesbian and as a mother to these kids, and her chemistry with Julianne Moore is amazing and feels lived-in. Moore delivers a more comedic and showy performance, and is sincere, but this performance slightly pales in credibility and sensitivity to Bening's.

In the end, I felt I had gone on a memorable and endearing journey with these characters. The movie does lose pacing in places and could have benefitted from the comedy that it is supposed to contain. The sparse scoring dulled the film as well.