AccessReel Review – The Kids Are All Right

AccessReel Review – The Kids Are All Right

‘It’s all about family! The most talked-about movie at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, The Kids Are All Right, combines wonderful comedy with warm-hearted emotion in a vibrant and richly drawn portrait of a modern family. The Allgoods share a cozy Southern Californian home, experiencing life’s typical ups and down. The only difference is, this family has two mums. Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) have been together for years, deeply in love. When their two teenaged children decide to seek out their biological sperm donor-dad Paul (Mark Ruffalo), the household will never be the same again. Funny, smart and sexy, this pitch-perfect film features brilliant fantastic performances from its acclaimed cast and The Kids Are All Right is proving to be this year’s independent breakout hit.’

It is clear from the very start of the movie that Joni (Wasikowska) and Laser (Hutcherson) have not had a traditional upbringing. What is different about their family is that they have not one mum, but two – whom they refer to as Mums’s. Long time married couple Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore), used a sperm donor to help them build the family that they so badly desired. Eighteen years later, Laser and Joni’s curiousity drives them to seek out their biological father, Paul (Ruffalo).  This does not go down well with the control-freak-Mum-Nic, who starts to feel as if her family is slowly being taken away from her. Insecure-hippy-Mum-Jules seems to have a lot in common with Paul, the organic farmer and restaurant owner, who claims that he was too ‘hands on’ a kind of guy to finish college. Paul seems to apply the ‘hands on’ mentality to every aspect of his life, flirting and sleeping with every woman he comes into contact with. Jules seems to like Paul immediately…maybe a little too much. Paul infiltrates the close-knit family, and over time, affects each family member in a way that no one could have predicted.

This is a movie about family, relationships, acceptance, and growing. The film was co-written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, who pays wonderful attention to detail. The strange thing I found about this movie was that it evoked such vocal responses from the audience. The cinema I attended was jam-packed, with a real mixture of age groups actually, and they all seemed to be quite affected by the film. There were ooohs and aaahs, and sighs and my personal favourite – ‘oh my god!’ which sprung up frequently (probably due to the in-your-face sex scenes). The movie was surprisingly funny, and I in particular found the gardener, who played a very small part, to be extremely funny.

The acting in this film is as high calibre as it gets, with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore offering performances that were both poignant and believable. Interestingly enough, both Bening and Moore were up for Oscar nominations for Best Actress in 1999. They lost out to Hilary Swank that year, but maybe this year will be the year that one of them takes an Oscar home. Home-grown Mia Wasikowska, and up and coming cutie Josh Hutcherson put in stellar performances too. It was refreshing to watch a movie that was well constructed and acted. Every scene had a purpose, the dialogue was true to life, and the characters were relatable. Overall, the film was extremely satisfying. I loved it.

I give this film four out of five stars.