Nic and Jules are in a long term, committed, loving but by no means perfect same-sex 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 (conceived by Nic) and Laser (by Jules). 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 reluctantly, she does. He is late ... Written by
'THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
This indie critical darling is one of the best reviewed movies of the year and up until the climax I thought it was a pretty impressive little film. It is a well acted and realistic character study though with the likes of Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hutcherson and 'ALICE IN WONDERLAND's Mia Wasikowska. It's directed and co-written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg (who also wrote 'KEEPING THE FAITH' and co-wrote 'THE GIRL NEXT DOOR', which I'm a big fan of both). The acting is all impressive, especially Ruffalo and Bening. Moore is good but she's been much better, maybe it's just the character she's playing here that doesn't give her as much to work with. The directing is adequate and fitting to the material and the screenplay is full of natural and believable characters and dialog. Even the ending, which I didn't like, seems believable it's just that it turns the film into a much less valuable learning lesson.
The film tells the story of Joni (Wasikowska) and Laser (Hutcherson) a brother and sister conceived through artificial insemination by their unhappy mothers Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore). Joni is Nic's biological daughter and Laser is Jule's biological son and they were both conceived from the same sperm donor Paul (Ruffalo). On her eighteenth birthday, when she's legally able to do so without the consent of her mother, Joni contacts her biological father and she and Laser meet him secretly. Later their mothers find out about this and before allowing them to see him again demand to meet him as well. Nic, the controlling working mother, is very upset by the sudden involvement of Paul in her children lives but Jules (who has mostly been a stay at home mom) warms to him after he hires her to design and construct his back yard. Paul is a free spirited, fun loving co-op farmer and restaurant owner. This clashes with Nic but the rest of the family enjoys spending time with him and he really learns to love them as well. Complications arise.
I was really fascinated by all of the characters and learned to really like them, all except for maybe Nic who was just a little to controlling and self righteous (but believable). Paul to me was the most relate-able and likable character and the story and growth of all of the characters kind of revolve around him. Without giving away too much the movie ends in conflict and one of the characters is sort of used and abused and left with a lot of unfair judgment placed upon him. It is realistic and believable though it just seems like the movie is making heroes out of the wrong characters and villains out of others, that don't deserve it. This left me very much disappointed in the movie as a whole and that's why I can't overwhelmingly recommend it.
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