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Interesting, funny and well acted

Posted : 6 years ago on 3 November 2013 06:15

'The Kids Are All Right' is a very interesting movie because of its interesting story about lesbians who have two kids (one is 18) because their biological father is a sperm donor who they want to meet - that sounds pretty interesting!

The cast give some very good performances (Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, John Hutcherson) and the directing is also very good

The same year that 'The Kids Are All Right' was released, Mia Wasikowska made her highest grossing movie 'Alice In Wonderland' with Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter well since this is slightly better, couldn't this be more successful?

It deserves its critical praise and Oscar nomination and is definitely worth watching, this is my 50th review and for a very good movie

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A very good movie

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 7 August 2012 09:22

Since I kept hearing some good things about this flick, I was really eager to check it out and I wasn't disappointed. Indeed, I thought it was a really good drama with some comedy but not too much and some terrific acting. Honestly, I thought the whole thing was pretty flawless with a fascinating story with some very intriguing characters. My only complain would be that there were 2 very interesting plots (the children meeting their donor father and the lesbian mothers having a rough patch in their relationship) but the way they merged both stories felt pretty random and forced. The amazing thing is that even if it was a mistake, it also had a positive effect. Indeed, before that, the donor father was way too good to be true but, then, after his disastrous actions, he finally got a human face and it made the character even more interesting. The cast (Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson) was pretty amazing and I was above all impressed by Annette Bening. Indeed, after 5 minutes, I completely forgot I was watching Bening on the screen, I only saw a fully fledged character and that's what acting is or should be about. To conclude, I thought it was a really fascinating drama and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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The Kids Are All Right review

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 30 August 2011 10:50

The movie has a great soundtrack and good performances. There is a movie that doesn't appeal for the social conscience and which treats lesbians and gays as humans and no as people that are looked with other eyes. It's a original and truthful movie. And it doesn't want to treat of the theme of "Homosexualism" and yes of familiar relationship and the ripeness of people there. It doesn't has extraordinary performances. All are only okay! Forming one of the best cast of the year. A great movie, with that appeal that I hoped listen, blah blah blah of "we must accept gays" but I didn't see like that.

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The film is all-brilliant!

Posted : 8 years, 11 months ago on 16 December 2010 07:16

Over the past few years there have been romantic-comedies that have proved that they aren't those soppy love stories that we see today but because they received critical acclaim and that they have added something more personal to them to make them more successful (Little Miss Sunshine and Juno are other examples). They all bring out something new that we hadn't seen or experienced before and sends a different message every time. The message that The Kids Are All Right sends out for me is that just because there is a homosexual couple as parents, that doesn't mean they aren't suitable parents! As long as they are there for their children, then that's what counts.

What my thoughts were of The Kids Are All Right is that it isn't your ordinary romantic-comedy that you see on a regular basis and for that reason amongst others, I absolutely loved it! Despite the fact it has been named a romantic-comedy, I would call it more of a romantic-drama seeing as it involves a lesbian couple and children and it takes you onto a personal level that you don't really experience very often. I mean, yeah there have been films about homosexuals portrayed by heterosexual actors but I think this might be the first film I have come across that has involved that and children.

In LA, Nic and Jules are a couple with a daughter, Joni (Nic is biological mother), on her way to college and a son, Laser (Jules is biological mother), at 15 a good athlete but maybe hanging out with the wrong pal. Laser wants Joni, who's now 18, to find out who their biological father is - a sperm donor. Without initially telling their moms, they meet him. He's Paul, a cool guy with a motorcycle, a restaurant, and an organic garden. Although Nic doesn't like the idea, the five of them get together a few times and the kids spend time with Paul. He hires Jules, who's had many brief vocations, to landscape his back yard, and Nic, who's an OB/GYN, decides to be a good sport and get to know Paul better. Can a family add a new member?

An absolutely fantastic cast! I have always admired Annette Bening for her selection of films to be part of and I am really glad she was in this one too. I loved her as Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty 11 years ago and I have to admit, her performance in The Kids Are All Right isn't that far from being as brilliant as American Beauty. I think the main reason why I loved Annette in this film was because I think she showed real determination towards the film and wanted to bring out something to show the world. I mean, most heterosexual actors who portray homosexuals do that but Annette probably did it the best. She needs that Academy Award nomination but she has to battle with favourite to win Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Pretty sure she will win the Golden Globe though. Mark Ruffalo is a very underrated actor for me and I really liked him in this one as Paul so he deserves an Oscar nomination too. I did like Julianne Moore as well but not quite worthy of an Oscar nomination. Two young famous individuals Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska were pretty awesome as well as Laser and Joni. It should earn young actor awards but not contenders of any of the big awards.

In most romantic-comedies that are Oscar contenders, we usually see a breakthrough or a great debut directorial performance; like Jason Reitman with Juno. Plus, it is another example that goes to show that there are some other fantastic female directors as well, not just the male ones. For me, it should earn 4 Academy Award nominations: Best Picture 2010, Best Leading Actress (Annette Bening), Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo) and Best Original Screenplay (your usual rom-com/drama nominations). It should win Best Picture Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globes too as should Annette Bening for Best Actress Musical/Comedy (probably firm seal for her like Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia last year).

Overall, The Kids Are All Right is an absolutely fantastic film that is more of a drama than a comedy. Fantastic cast, fantastic performance, fantastic directing and fantastic script so deserves all the credit and universal acclaim it got. It is definitely one of the best films of 2010 and would take a damn amazing film to be better than this one.

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The Kids Are All Right

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 10 October 2010 05:57

The Kids Are All Right is a modern look at the nuclear family, complete with its warts, foibles and general grind that goes along with it. That the parents are a lesbian couple is never made into a big deal, it just is. To see two people presented as just ‘being’ twenty years into a marriage is nice. We so often see the blissful-but-awkward first year, the medically-impaired twilight, but never really the midsection. These are two people trying to just make it through, raise their kids and be happy. But anyone who’s made it through more than one year living and being with the same person knows that it’s a hard task, and that it only gets harder as time marches on. Did I mention that is was filled with laughter, warmth, brains and tears along the journey? Well, such is life.

Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) have been together for twenty years and have had two kids through an anonymous sperm donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo). When their oldest child, Joni (Mia Wasikowska), is getting ready to go off to college her brother, Laser (Josh Hutcherson), asks her to help them meet their biological father. She initially refuses, declaring that she doesn’t want to hurt Moms feelings. Like any parental unit they are described as a singular entity. Eventually she relents and they secretly meet Ruffalo. From there the Moms intervene and hilarity, awkwardness and honest-to-God adult emotions emerge.

Some movies can be described as an actor’s piece; they offer great lines to act out but don’t deliver the goods in the story department. They’re just pretty ornaments for the actors to hang with their craft. I would be tempted, greatly I might add, to call this an actor’s piece, but the script is too wonderful, the story to perfectly told to disservice it in that way. And yet it does offer a chance for some great actors to do some great work. It is both a tightly written piece and an actor’s piece. A rarity nowadays and we should treasure movies like it all the more. Consider the scene where Nic and Jules have a huge argument about Paul, their kids, their marriage at dinner with friends. The simple back and forth pains you. No flowery or prosaic dialogue is given; it is unadorned and sounds painfully real. Moore and Bening do great work throughout, but a scene like this allows for them to do small and subtle touches which add credence to their characters backstory and lives. It makes it all feel more real. The way that Moore delivers a line like “Do you still think I’m pretty?” is enough to break your heart. Or the way that Bening reacts to her daughter’s growing desire for independence. She is used to her daughter being the good one, the one that always does as she is told. But children grow up and want to be adults someday; Joni is just trying to ask her mother to be treated this way. But she does it in the same bullish way that we’ve all done it. The face that Bening makes, nothing huge or grand, just a small twitch of the muscles to express hurt, confusion, anger and possibly understanding go a long way. This is a real family, this is a real couple.

I have expounded greatly on our two lead actresses, but they don’t act in a vacuum. Hutcherson delivers solid work as Laser, the fifteen-year-old son seeking a masculine connection, male-bonding and patriarchal sympathy in a house run by women. It is understandable why he feels this way, and he’s also got some of his mother’s both-feet-first way of doing things. Wasikowska, fresh off a solid performance in Alice in Wonderland, proves that she’s a young actress to watch. If she’s already hoping around genres and seeking out complicated and diverse characters like this, she could easily prove herself to be an actress of great strength and caliber. She also bares a more than striking resemblance to Joni Mitchell, whom her character is named for. Should Mitchell ever get a biopic, I know what actress could portray her. And Mark Ruffalo, always a solid supporting actor, turns in his greatest one yet. What he has to do to get some recognition from Hollywood is anyone’s guess. His scruffy but plain good looks fit Paul like a glove. But he’s also capable of delivering the stuttering, commitment-phobic, slightly neurotic New Age oddness of the character. It is a finely and fully realized portrait, just like the rest. Truly, this is a gifted ensemble. It’s a shame the Academy doesn’t pull a SAG award and create a “Best Ensemble” category.

Notice that I haven’t talked about the infidelity. I’ve noticed that some (re)viewers are mistaking Jules and Paul’s affair as being something resembling love. Love has nothing to do with it. She tells him flat out that she’s a lesbian. So why is she having sex with a man? It’s very simple. Nic is no longer noticing Jules in many ways. When Jules tells Paul that she mistakes silence for criticism that is coming from a dark and deep place within her, which is an emotional black eye has been dealing with throughout her marriage. Paul notices her, he tells her kind words, he values her input, he thinks of her sexually. She is being seen by someone for the first time in a long while. That is why she sleeps with him. She doesn’t love him; he just makes her feel appreciated and noticed for the first time in a long time. He’s fulfilling the emotional void she’s having in her marriage. And he doesn’t love her, he’s jealous of their comfortable middle-class domesticity. They have his children; they have a marriage and a nice life. He is in his forties and runs from relationships. She is an image to him in many ways. His feelings are based on that.

And then there is the ending. Many feel that he is shut out completely and blamed as an interloper. I can see that, but I disagree. If everyone in the family hated him, why would Joni take the hat he gave her with her to college? She can clearly be seen placing it with her things in the car towards the end. There is a possibility, a very small and subtle one in a film filled with small and subtle things, that he can be forgiven and welcomed back in. But the home needs to be fixed first. That was my reading, anyway.

The Kids Are All Right is a film that I appreciate, love and cannot recommend highly enough. I saw it shortly after it came out, and wish that I had written this sooner. Luckily, it’s still playing (at my art house theater anyway) and is coming out to DVD in early November. Go to the theater, rent it, I don’t care how you see it, just do it.

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The Kids Are All Right review

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 24 September 2010 10:56

This is the exceptionally rare dramedy that completely satisfies on both dramatic and comedic levels without compromising either aspect. If you've read or seen anything to do with this film you will observe that the Kids Are All Right tackles some socially and, in today's world, politically sensitive material; it does so with absolute grace. The film is never overly-P.C. nor simplistic and irreverent in its treatment of its situations and characters. Rather it assumes a matter-of-fact position depicting reality as reality, (Bold, I know) where a long-term lesbian couple happens to center the story. Director Cholodenko takes a hard-line toward realism at every chance, with a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, and an uncanny instinct for displaying authentic, recognizable humanity at all turns. Just the right touch of subversive satire is thrown in to keep this film from delving too deep into melodrama, and this highly talented cast delivers top-notch performances all the way through. With a script this smart, this film was almost bound to be good, but the likes of Bening, Moore, and Rufulo all clocking in at their best elevate this film to GREAT status. Fine, emotionally charged and mature performances from the teenagers go a long way in this film too, and given what this movie sets out to achieve I really can't point toward anything that demanded improvement. It handles relationships and life-stages in a way that will force audiences to recognize pieces of themselves somewhere or another, without ever implying an oppressive directoral attitude toward its subject. Charcters are left to work out their hang-ups, insecurities, and short-comings under their own steam, more or less moving toward a bittersweet place of alrightness. And it's rarely felt this good.

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The Kids Are All Right

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 6 September 2010 01:18

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT features a terrific lead performance from Annette Bening and it benefits from an endearing warmth that permeates its running time even when we move into dark subjects.

The premise is incredibly appealing and has all the potential in the world to make for a great indie drama: Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a couple, and they each had a baby through artificial insemination, so that they can jointly call themselves the mothers of Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson). Once Joni turns 18, though, she and her brother become interested in finding out who their biological father is, so they do just that. Turns out it's the scruffy, laid-back Paul (Mark Ruffalo), who dropped out of college and has made a career out of working at a restaurant. Paul enters the life of the family of four, and as you might expect, much dysfunction ensues.

The first act of THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT is wonderful. The awkwardness during the moments in which the title characters meet Paul is handled perfectly, and it gets even more hilarious when he visits their house and the moms finally get to meet him. There's a fantastic conversation during which Nic interrogates Paul about his occupation and aspirations, and later, there's an expertly-executed moment in which Jules nervously talks about her job as a landscaper, with Nic giving skeptical looks the entire time (only one of the examples of how remarkable Bening is throughout the entire film).

One of the things I did start noticing as the film went along, much to my chagrin, is that this is really the kind of movie for which they decided to show too many of the good moments in the trailer. There was one scene featured in the trailer during which Paul tells Laser that he's "glad" he donated his sperm, and I have to admit I was shocked by how EARLY this moment actually happens in the film. I would've thought that it would come much later. But there's an explanation for why it comes early... THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT makes the (perhaps unfortunate) decision to suddenly stop focusing on the relationship between Paul and the two titular characters and instead start focusing on the adulterous affair that starts blooming between Jules and Paul. I didn't mind this TOO much, but it's hard not too think about how much more of a greater film this would've been if the focus had been more on the struggle experienced by Joni and Laser. The scenes in which Jules and Paul secretly have sex are only a little bit interesting because of the whole dynamic with Jules supposedly being a lesbian; if Jules had been cheating on a male character instead of a female one, this whole plot line wouldn't be much more interesting than any other love triangle we've seen on cable TV. In fact, to be honest, the relationship between Jules and Paul is quite difficult to believe. Paul says "I'm falling for you" at a moment during which we certainly don't buy that enough has happened for him to say that. We later get the obligatory contrived moment in which Nic discovers a piece of evidence that unveils the affair. And finally, Paul eventually makes the call to say "Let's just run away with the kids." As much as I appreciate Moore and Ruffalo's performances, they deserved a better script for these scenes.

Fortunately, though, the film does sort of pick up the pieces during its final act, as the focus turns to Joni's departure for college. The final scenes are deeply affecting, and Bening is way on top of her character (I saw MOTHER AND CHILD last week, and as good as she was in that, if she has an Oscar nomination awaiting her this year, it's for this film). The ending is both sad and understated, without being sappy or manipulative. I wish I could say that THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT was as controversial or emotionally searing as it should have been for its entire running time, but I can't quite go that far. In fact, to sum it all up, I think that the last two words of the title are a pretty apt descriptor of the film's overall quality.

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