The Rizzos, a family who doesn't share their habits, aspirations, and careers with one another, find their delicate web of lies disturbed by the arrival of a young ex-con (Strait) brought ... See full summary »
Raymond De Felitta
Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
Nic and Jules are in a long term, committed, loving but by no means perfect relationship. Nic, a physician, needs to wield what she believes is control, whereas Jules, under that control, is less self-assured. During their relationship, Jules has floundered in her "nine to five" life, sometimes trying to start a business - always unsuccessfully - or being the stay at home mom. She is currently trying to start a landscape design business. They have two teen-aged children, Joni and Laser, Nic who is Joni's biological mother, and Jules who is Laser's biological mother. Although not exact replicas, each offspring does more closely resemble his/her biological mother in temperament. Joni and Laser are also half-siblings, having the same unknown sperm donor father. Shortly after Joni's eighteenth birthday and shortly before she plans to leave the house and head off to college, Laser, only fifteen and underage to do so, pleads with her to try and contact their sperm donor father. Somewhat ... Written by
On screen lesbians Nic and Jules' family is constructed as such - they each take sperm that's donated from the same anonymous donor, and impregnate themselves, therefore having their children who can grow up to be half-siblings. Naturally one of them wears the pants in the house
Nic by virtue of being a doctor and raking in big money, while the
other the stay home mom though looking to start her own business since the kids are all grown up. All's fine and dandy, though there are numerous problems percolating beneath the surface ready to explode, especially when the kids seek out and make contact with their biological dad Paul (Mark Ruffalo), an easy going guy who naturally appeals since he's out to bond with them, and never applying any parental responsibilities and control over the kid's upbringing. So here comes plenty of comparison, made worse when Paul enters into a physical relationship with Jules, thereby tossing the entire family relationship dynamics right up in the air.
This sudden appearance of a father figure forms the crux of the issues brought up in the film, such as whether a same-sex marriage with children will work, and the moral / ethical issues that come with teenagers growing up, who will one day question their being in this world. Everyones pretty self-conscious about various perceptions being cast upon them, and the usual family issues such as the lack of appreciation, the taking for grantedness, being petty and judgemental about another, all rear their ugly head. But it's not all a bitch fest and no fun. Enough comical moments got fused into the screenplay allowing some laughter to balance up the heavy dramatic moments, though I'm quite sure some may not find certain aspects as funny as I did if they're in the same boat or predicament faced by the characters, such as when the moms here started to suspect if their son had gay tendencies, or narratively co-writer and director Lisa Cholodenko just knew when to inject light-heartedness at the right points through her effective direction of the veteran cast.
The cast becomes the natural highlight, with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore being perfect opposite each other as the same sex married couple who have to deal with what I thought was the contempt from familiarity, and a strain in their marriage having a new man in their lives when none of them was prepared for it, since their kids were the one who did the outreach. It's been quite some time since we last saw Bening on screen, but what a comeback in a multi-faceted role. Moore also earns brownie points for her portrayal of Jules as the more emotional of the two, having to cope with the troubles that come from being too sensitive, being the personification of the saying of how we hurt the most those whom we love the most. Mark Ruffalo is also fast becoming one of my favourite character actors, and I'll be watching how he's going to tackle the Bruce Banner/Hulk role in The Avengers, which should be interesting to see his version of it, having Eric Bana and Edward Norton as his predecessors. Josh Hutcherson probably had the least screen time of the lot, but Mia Wasikowska had enough to show why she's probably the next up and coming actress in Hollywood's fold to keep an eye out for.
The Kids Are All Right boasts fine performances all round living its powerful dramatic screenplay, and seriously limiting it to one screen will dent its box office chances here, and making it a tad inconvenient to those genuinely wanting to see the film for all the right reasons, where moral/social fabric erosion is on the least of their concerns. At least it got shown, so I guess I should thank our lucky stars. Highl recommended!
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