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The Kids Are All Right More at IMDbPro »

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A well acted family drama with first class acting

Author: julian-mumford from New Zealand
5 November 2011

Jules (Julianne Moore) & Nic (Annette Bening) are a happy couple with two great kids they have bought up well, in a household with love and care.

Nic is a obstetrician, organised and focused whilst Jules is more of a free spirit, repeatedly starting projects and currently dabbling in garden design, which is a source of tension but no more than many millions of couples. The long term relationship is sound, albeit going a little stale, again they may not be alone in that predicament.

The children were born with the aid of an anonymous donor and whilst happy, the kids Joni (Mia Waikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) are curious as to who the person that shaped their lives, actually is.

According to US law they can request this information once they reach eighteen and Joni makes contact on behalf of her brother. Accepting the request for contact is Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a rough and ready bohemian restaurant owner.

Paul is very keen to become of the Kids lives and this has benefits all round despite some initial misgivings by Jules and Nic. Laser gets a father and male influence in his life, perhaps steering him away from his more unsavory friend choices. Joni gets to see an alternative lifestyle at a time when she needs to pull away from her mother's apron strings.

All is well but then, it becomes more complicated.

All the cast are uniformly good, the acting is natural and the script allows the characters to react in believable ways. Petty jealousies, slights and betrayals, just normal human behaviour played out in ways we can all understand, no matter the orientation of the couple featured.

The film is more serious than might be expected and it is targeted at a "mature" audience, not necessarily in age but for people who know and understand that life is more grey than black and white.

Bening & Moore make a screen couple that are entirely plausible, Ruffalo brings a rough diamond aspect to his role yet manages to make the character likable and convincing as the plot unfolds. Both the children provide sterling support, accepting without question their two mums.

Whilst stating the obvious, director and writer Lisa Cholodenko, manages to relay the message that children will thrive in any environment where they are cared for and loved, a situation not exclusive to a "straight" partnership.


A well acted family drama with first class acting and mature themes explored in a believable way, deep but accessible and with just enough humour to make this an enjoyable and easy watch.


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A pleasant, charming, thoughtful, and often funny modern-family story.

Author: angelofvic from United States
15 October 2011

I had heard wonderful things about this, and then later heard not-so-wonderful things, about this story of the modern lesbian family, so I went in with low expectations.

Fortunately, I liked it a lot. Loved the story, and the enjoyable performances from Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, both of whom are just a lot of fun to watch; plus Ruffalo shows new and interesting dimensions.

Annette Bening is inadvertently funny as the uptight foil -- as a medical doctor, she is used to being the insider and the sensible person, and she balks at suddenly being the outsider when the rest of her family bond with the alternative-thinker Ruffalo.

This is a pleasant, charming, and often funny modern-family story. There's a lot to laugh at, and enough substance to get you to think and to identify with the characters. What's not to like here?

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Great cast but a slightly disappointing movie

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
2 October 2011

To me, The Kids Are All Right seemed like an interesting movie that I was all for seeing. I will not deny that the cast are great. Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore are very good, likewise with Mia Wasikowska, however Annette Bening is outstanding. The film looks good, is well directed, has an agreeable soundtrack and the script is funny, mature and acerbic. The characters are the sort of characters that you learn to care for, but to start with apart from Bening's I took time warming to them. The film drags a bit at times, but while I liked the conflict between Jules and Nic some elements of the story falls flat, particularly with the treatment of Paul and the business with the biological dad was an interesting plot point to work from but for me explored poorly. Overall, slightly disappointing but great. The cast are the best asset. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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Good and interesting, but weak drama

Author: Raul Faust from Joinville, Brazil
14 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Good points: originality, acting, photography, plot, human behavior...

Bad points: no bad points, but it's too poor. You know, I expected a little more to happen in this movie. Although being very entertaining and a feel good, "The Kids Are All Right" could have been more courageous.

I liked the plot and found one scene very funny. The scene that Nic finally had to meet Paul; she is obviously very jealous of him and does her best to get along with Paul. It reminded me of an episode of "Friends", the one that Ross had to pretend he didn't care about Joey making out with Rachel. People trying to hide jealousy is something really funny, no matter in which condition.

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A good film--too bad it isn't accessible for everyone.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
31 March 2011

"The Kids Are All Right" is a frustrating film because it has such a niche audience--and doesn't need to. Some potential viewers won't see it because of its lesbian themes--and there's not much you can do about that. However, others, who might not at all be offended with the gay subject matter won't see the film simply because of all the nudity and sex. I think this is a mistake, because if they toned down the sex, the film might be a good one to see with your teens--especially as much of the film is about teens.

The film begins with a household with two lesbian moms and their two kids. Things seem pretty ordinary (despite the unusual blended family)--that is until the kids, on their own, seek out their biological father--the man who donated sperm to their mothers years earlier. This little event, while seemingly harmless immediately after, turns out to be something that ultimately exposes problems in this gay marriage. How and what these problems are things you can find out for yourselves.

The film is well written and acted. There were also a couple scenes I loved--such as the one where the moms think their son is gay and the other where one of the moms (Annette Benning) goes on a tirade about trendy eating trends--like organics and artificial milks. I enjoyed the movie and felt that with a few minor cuts, it would be a great film for the family to watch and discuss. I also enjoyed that it was NOT a cut and dried view of gay marriage--the couple was not the noble stereotypical couple but had problems and quirks.

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Likable but not believable

Author: maloned from Miami, Florida
29 March 2011

The Kids Are All Right was about gay parents whom have the same family problems as hetero parents. The movie is about their children's search and attempt to have a relationship with their biological father and the problems that come along with introducing another parent into a family.

I enjoyed the movie, I enjoyed it a little to much. I felt like the characters were too likable. Annette Bening's character Nic should be have been the person who we should have disliked, but I couldn't. She was too likable. Everyone was lovable. The biggest problem about that is that I couldn't buy into their dysfunction. It wasn't believable. There have been to many good movies about real dysfunction within families. I think they movie creators really wanted the unorthodox family to be liked and accepted.

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Well Acted but Melodramatic

Author: kenjha
22 March 2011

Two children of lesbian couple seek out their sperm donor, disrupting everyone's life. The expository scenes are not convincing. The film seems to be trying too hard to push the lesbian marriage as something normal, but the dialog is pedestrian and unnatural in these early scenes. It does get better as it goes along, and one does feel that the two women really do love each other and that this is a real family. Bening is quite good as the head of the family, a woman who feels threatened by a stranger encroaching on her territory. Moore and Ruffalo are also fine. It may have worked better if there was more comedy and less melodrama. The ending is somewhat unsatisfying.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Kids Are All Right- 5 Category Review

Author: nathan-276 from United States
21 January 2015

It is my firm belief that the overall quality of a film can be determined by its effectiveness in 5 categories: Screenplay/Plot, Directing, Acting, Cinematography/Visual/Sound Effects, and Score/Soundtrack. Too often do we ignore the greatness a film has in one aspect because of the poorness it may have in another.

I try to be as vague as I can with my reviews, to avoid spoilers of any kind, while still being informative as to what I found good and poor within a film. Here's my take on 'The Kids Are All Right'

Visual Components/Cinematography: 4/10- Nothing to write home about. No effects, though it wasn't really necessary to begin with. Nothing special in regards to the cinematography, costume, makeup, art direction or set design. For this kind of film, you'd except at least a little creativity with the cinematography and the sad part about it is that the most creative they got with it was in the opening credits.

Audio Components/Score/Soundtrack: 3.5/10- Another disappointing aspect to this film. What really enhances a lot of these great comedy dramas is the music, and it was noticeably lacking here. No one is necessarily screaming for a unique and dramatic score but dear God at least put some effort into the soundtrack.

Acting: 6.5/10- Quite clearly the highlight of the film. Everyone did a job well done, and the film really benefited particularly from the performances from Annette Bening and Mia Wasikowska. The characters felt like they had a sense of realism and depth associated with them, and this was more so due to the performances than the writing.

Screenplay/Story: 3.5/10- Wow, that's about all I can say, and not a good Wow might I add. The premise is intriguing and filled with potential but all the potential was squashed from pure laziness and illogical character interactions.

Direction: 3/10-The main point of directing is to make the most out of what you are given. Lisa Cholodenko failed here. I felt as though there was no real effort or passion put into this, and if there was then it was a failure.

Overall: 4.1/10 Considering the basic premise, cast, and overall praise this film received, it's safe to say that it is one of the most disappointing films from 2010. Want a showcase of powerful acting? Go ahead and watch this. Want a positive stimulus in any other aspect of filmmaking? Skip this one.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Razor sharp, game-changing, and very moving.

Author: luke-a-mcgowan
25 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Kids Are All Right is very special, and really deserves its place in Hollywood's Hall of Fame for films that shook up the norm. B

Beautifully written and constructed by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, the film's biggest asset early on its its dialogue. The insults are so savage that we as audience members feel wounded, but the awkward banter, flirtatious chemistry and humour (intentional and otherwise) flow just as easily. The writers know just when to use "sperm donor" instead of "father", to keep us distant from Paul and remind us who really is the family. The strong script is one of the key reasons the film sits so comfortably between comedy and drama.

The acting is sound across the board, with Bening's uptight "man of the house" lesbian coming so naturally its hard to believe Bening is acting. Moore displays a broad range of emotions as Jules, and Mia Wasikowska steals all of her scenes as Joni. But it is Mark Ruffalo who steals the show as Paul, the womanising greenie whose life is changed when he meets his two almost grown kids. Every single scene is played to perfection, and Ruffalo vanishes, chameleon-like, into his character. The chemistry in this film is almost perfect, sending sparks when needed and then completely non-existent in others (such as Paul's first meet with his kids). Unfortunately, Moore and Bening don't quite achieve perfection in terms of being a believable couple, but for the most part they make it work.

However the film's conclusion is deeply saddening as a movie watcher. The film comes to a climax with the discovery of an affair, and Paul is ostracised from the family. Paul is never seen again and his story is left unresolved, like a villain who was defeated and then left in the wilderness. Having spent the whole movie with him, we as audience members come to love and support Paul, and we see him grow into someone who really does want a family, having been profoundly affected by meeting his biological children. Whilst it was nice to see Nic and Jules reconcile in the finale, having Paul's relationship with everyone left completely sour was very unsatisfying and rather disappointing.

Overall, however, The Kids Are All Right is a Hollywood game-changer for all the right reasons. The acting is great, the writing is superb and it will be a delight to see how Hollywood changes because of it.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good actors but the story isn't saying much.

Author: Dr_Sagan from the Edge of the Cosmos
17 November 2014

I am not sure if this deserved the 4 academy award nominations it got but if nothing else the acting from the 3 main actors is good enough.

The story though isn't saying much. 2 kids of a lesbian couple are searching for their biological father. I won't spoil you with what happens exactly but, if nothing else, the whole plot is simplistic maybe even flat, and the final outcome just sweeps under the rug any possible consequences.

The direction is nothing to write home about. Nothing really stands out except maybe the lead performances.

Some critics are praising the family values of the film, but in my opinion aren't so pronounced in this. The parents are two women and that may sell the movie to you, but after you have seen the movie you will doubt and question many things that the director/screenwriter (lesbian herself) tried to fit in her script. In my opinion this is more about egoism with some hints of guilt and remorse.

Overall: Check it out, but do not expect to see something other than an average movie.

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