THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT--Directed by Lisa Cholodenko. Starring Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo/Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg/106 min/R
(G) I am soooooooooooo sorry that I waited soooooooo long before I watched, The Kids Are Alright (I literally flipped a coin and watched Grown-Ups before I rented this one and will NEVER forgive myself). THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT was very enjoyable, very real, and extremely poignant in today’s cultural climate. First, I need to say that it was wonderful to finally see a movie about a gay or lesbian couple that doesn’t include deadly disease, murder, suicide or horrible psychological trauma. The lesbian couple—played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore—are just ordinary folks, parents with the usual worries, personality traits, strengths and weaknesses of any other couple/parents in today’s world. Their kids are perfectly normal too. True, this couple does have one family secret that they are forced to confront in this film…no, not that they or either of their children are gay…They have to face the fact that their children (both conceived through artificial insemination) are normally curious about their biological father. This was apparently not something that they worried about when they decided to give birth. They also decided to use the same sperm donor so that their children would have a biological connection (just in case there was something more to the “nature” part of the “nature/nurture” question). Mark Ruffalo played the discovered “dad” with great care—it could have gone very wrong in a couple of places, but didn’t-- and the brother/sister duo played by Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson were excellent, as well. I know this is getting ridiculous, but I think this is one of the strongest years for films I’ve seen in decades. I’m especially impressed with the sterling dialogue and the interesting spectrum of characterizations. This one is also earning three binoculars from me.
(B)Actually, Gordon got to this review before me, so there is little more to say. I enjoyed this film, but not quite as much as Gordon. I do agree that is was a relief that murder or horrible psychological trauma was not present in this film. Other than that, I found this film very ordinary. I’m afraid two binoculars is all I can spare. That gives us an average of two and a half binoculars.
NOTE: I thought it was a funny sign that the producers don't believe in this film, because the trailer includes an ad for another movie, the animated feature, DESPICABLE ME. Look!