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I was very touched by this movie. It was delicate, moving, subtle and
very human. The story was very believable, and the acting was
excellent. I have never been fond of Bening as the leading lady in
romantic movies, because I have thought that she is too androgynous -
but in this movie, when she was SUPPOSED to be a lesbian, she was just
I think it is very wrong to use donor sperm and eggs, and I think these practices ought never to have been made legal. For me this has nothing to do with religion or morals, but with the fact that I realize that human beings have feelings and normal behaviour patterns that are born into us. Such as a desire to bond with your natural father, your natural mother, and your natural siblings.
To know your roots, your grand-parents on both sides... to keep some memorials from them, such as grand-mum's wedding ring, the case grand-dad made in wood-work class, and your great-grandparents' wedding photo... to feel part of your family far back in time, so that you can give that inheritance, and feeling of security and belonging, to your own children in your turn...
And all these inborn patterns and desires, you cannot throw away just because a same-sex couple or a single woman are longing for a child. Some people who go through these procedures, seem to believe that they can decide FOR their child how he or she is going to feel about it all - but of course this is not possible, as the child will be a new, unique individual of his/her own.
This movie - although it is fiction - still shows some consequences that are very likely to happen in reality, when the donor kids grow up. I think novels and movies about this issue are very important, because they provide a ground to start discussions from.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's a film about a lesbian couple with kids conceived using sperm of
an anonymous donor. One of the kids, the only boy in the family of four
feels the need of a father figure and he ends up meeting a guy so
different from his parents, cool. Thats one of the highlight of this
movie. He doesn't take an immediate liking to him and he is not made
the protagonist and the stricter parent the antagonist. It's realistic.
They like him, but not more than their parents. They don't tolerate it
when he , though unintentionally, becomes a factor why their family can
break. Though the treatment of Paul is not totally fair, it wasn't
totally unfair too. Jules does make a mistake too, but she was a part
of the family and remains so. They don't let you realize it's a lesbian
couple at the same time it doesn't look too unrealistic.
You feel like they are living there, it's that realistic c.
The lesbian family issue is an interesting part of the film, but the
main value is in how it makes us think about what it means to have a
long-term relationship in a marriage, and what it means to be a family.
The dialog where the couple Nic and Jules work out their differences is very convincingly written. I hope I can express my feelings as well as they do to each other--as difficult as that is with the various things that happen in their family.
The female-female couple dialog helps me, as a male viewer, to see their raising of issues and expression of open feelings in a very natural way. I don't want to over-emphasize male-female communication style stereotypes, but I do think males (like me, and similar somewhat to Nic in this couple) tend to want to be in control, and tend to not like to talk about issues that come up.
I picked up some good lines for opening communication with my partner and with my kids as well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Overall, I liked this movie. I really did. The acting was superb all
around, even if the script was not the best thing ever. Annette Benning
and Julianne Moore were convincing as a years-long couple, who have the
misfortune of suffering the pitfalls that many years-long couples
suffer. The fact that they were lesbians was really a non-issue where
this was concerned.
My biggest issue with this movie was the treatment of Paul. This man DID NOT ASK to be catapulted into the lives of these strangers. But he was, and he became attached, and while he really should have had enough sense to deny Jules' advances, it doesn't sit right with me that all was forgiven with Jules' side of the affair whereas Paul was insulted and dismissed. Jules can apologize and receive redemption, but when Paul tries, he is called an interloper. Everything is fine and well once the evil straight man is rudely ejected from their lives. WTF is that? I did feel some measure of relief when I noticed that Joni kept his hat and decided to take it to college with her. To me, that indicated that she at least has enough decency to realize that the affair went both ways, and I like to imagine that she remained open to the possibility of speaking to him again. Someday.
For me, the movie ends when they are sitting down to dinner at Paul's house, before Nic makes the big discovery. To me, that summed up everything that this movie should and could have been. I'm generally a huge fan of Lisa Cholodenko and as I said, I did like this movie overall. I just wish it didn't reek of so much straight hate.
I had recently watched the Directors Cut wherein Lisa Cholodenko
discusses the mosaic of family and how she wanted to present a personal
story that is relevant to many. I liked her film "Laurel Canyon" and so
decided to give this a chance, it has been buried with other
blockbuster films in 2010, but this film is worth a second look.
Basically Annette Bening is Nic, and Jules (Julianne Moore) is her wife. They had Joni, their daughter through artificial insemination. Mi Kiawolska is good here as Joni, understated and not high drama, she just wants to meet her "biological" dad. The actor playing Laser, the son is good in a small scene where Ruffalo mentions he doesn't like his friend, then Laser realizes his friend is abusive to a stray dog.Laser drops the friend as a result.
Mark Ruffalo is the biological donor. He plays the role of a somewhat disaffected but successful restaurant owner, he becomes attached to Joni as he realizes one thing in his life missing: basic family.
There are some humorous scenes with Jules (Moore) and Ruffalo as they become sexually attracted. She is unfaithful to "Nic" and Annette Bening is very good in this role, a counterpoint to roles I have seen her play in the past. Her look and cadence is believable, she is simply a life partner to Jules who wants to keep the family together. There are sensitive, real moments of caring, even in her non-verbal acting here. I was surprised at how good it was.
Please don't dismiss this film as just another trendy indie film. It has some very nice moments to it, and is a human story everyone who has ever loved anyone in a difficult marriage, or relationship can understand.
Of particular note, is the performance by Ruffalo (insensitive but trying to change in middle age). When his sometime bed partner wants to spend some time hooking up he finally says: ..."I don't want to be another 50 year old man just doing, you know" ...and the dialog rings true.
Also Moore, as a somewhat airy, but loving person who wants to do something for a career in "landscape design" but ultimately falls into more of a passive role, as Bening (Nic) is the breadwinner.
It is a good film, and not predictable or trite and saccharine. Recommended. 10/10.
I really liked this movie and it passed my expectations as I went into
it not thinking much. The characters were great and the movie was
funny. It didn't try to set up random situations. Every comedic scene
had a purpose to the story, however, if you are going into this
thinking it is going to be all comedy, then you are wrong. This is a
drama first, comedy second.
I think all the performances were great, but this movie has one major problem and that is focus. The movie cannot seem to tell who it wants it's main character to be. Sometimes, during certain scenes, I think to myself that this movie would have been better if it had been focused on this certain character, but then the next scene proves otherwise. I came to the conclusion that this movie should have either been:
A) 30 minutes longer B) A show or miniseries C) A novel
All those things would have suited this film better. The ending is very disappointing and very awkward. The ending is not a happy or sad ending. In fact, I did not even know it was the ending. The only indication that this was the film's ending was when the credits started rolling. I think this movie would have gotten a 9 or maybe even a 10 if it just went on a bit longer, however, the ending totally forgets about one of the main characters and abandons that subplot which was disappointing to me since that subplot seemed to be the most interesting for me.
8.0 out of 10: Great characters, great plot, disappointing resolution.
When telling an intimate domestic story with potential comical
outbursts, getting the right cast is already half the job. Before that
you have to polish a good script with crisp dialogue. And after casting
a fine script, a poor directing job would only hold back the final
quality to nice/cute instead of releasing the full potential of a great
In The Kids Are All Right you can feel that the script was rushed into production too soon, without being properly challenged. The only other possibility would be that the dialogue was too heavy or something and they simplified it during production. It's always painful to listen to boring on-the-nose dialogue. Here it's all the more boring as we have a great cast doing its best.
Now, with those indie would-be "auteurs" who would not have their talents challenged you can be pretty sure that poor dialogue will not come smoothly with any redeeming directing abilities. All in all, such a boring movie that you can't begin to see what it might have been with real work around the great cast.
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
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.
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?
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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