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.
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
It is easy to reinvent the wheel. Throughout the past few decades the cinema has proved this fact with countless low-budget comedies by exploiting the structure of the classical American family. Yet, Lisa Cholodenko's 2010 film The Kids Are All Right offers something refreshingly new; but what? Is it the bohemian lifestyle of a middle- aged sperm donor? Or maybe it's the impulsive decisions of a lesbian landscaper. As one can imagine, this is no typical family.
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore costar as Nic and Jules Allgood, proud homosexual partners and co-mothers of Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) by way of artificial insemination. With maturity comes curiosity, and when the children seek their paternity they come face to face with sperm donor Paul Hatfield (Mark Ruffalo). Paul connects immediately with the children but his liberal ways threaten Nic's control and an affair with Jules tears the family to pieces. With Joni off to college at the end of the summer this unconventional group must relearn to trust and love one another in the face of their own familial defeat.
If there is one area of production that deserves special recognition here it is certainly the original screenplay by Lisa Cholodenko. A dynamic and comedic mix of highs and lows, Cholodenko exposes the raw nature and beauty of a family in crisis and leaves the audience with the perfect blend of closure and ambiguity. It is almost unthinkable that The Kids Are All Right did not take the Best Original Screenplay Oscar at the 83rd Academy Awards. I say this not to take credit from The King's Speech, but how many Oscars can you carry at once, Tom Hooper?
Passionate star support says a lot about a story, and The Kids Are All Right may not have gotten off the ground if it had not been for the support of Bening, Moore and Ruffalo, all three of whom had been attached to this little project upon reading the script. Shot in Los Angeles in just twenty three days, The Kids Are All Right is an unconventional portrait of an unconventional family.
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