Director/Screenwriter Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right is an actor's dream come true - the type of opportunity that comes rarely with meaty, well-developed stories and multi-layered characters.
Annette Bening (Nic) and Julianne Moore (Jules) are a perfect pairing as a Lesbian couple who raise two children together who were conceived via artificial insemination. Mia Wasikowska (Joni) and Josh Hutcherson (Laser) play the children who go on a search, without their mothers' knowing, successfully locate their biological father, sexy Mark Ruffalo (Paul). Normally the stories end there, and rarely do stories ever touch upon what really happens after the Reunion has passed; Cholodenko goes there totally. What changes are there dynamically when a family which has not had a Father Figure, suddenly has one?
Nic and Jules have their fair share of problems in their relationship. Nic is in many ways the Father-type figure, controlling decision-making and embracing the Breadwinner role, while Jules plays more the Mother-type figure, nurturing and emotional. Despite her attempts to let loose or show appreciation for Jules, we are led to believe that although Nic is capable of doing so, it is simply out-of-character. Free-spirited Paul's presence causes a divide among the family, alienating Nic, which results in juicy jabs (i.e. "fuck yous" at the Dinner Table) and drama in the household. Matters get a bit dangerous as Jules takes on the assignment of landscaping Paul's garden, developing an intimate bond with one another.
The interesting thing about The Kids Are All Right is that even though the family is faced with the Empty Nest transition with Joni leaving to College and all the marital drama which comes with Paul's welcomed/un-welcomed presence, we never get the sense that they are really ever in danger. Their foundation is so strong even it all its Post-modern Dysfunctionality that in ways, they thrive off the lack of conventionalism. Cholodenko does a fantastic job at engaging us. These characters we all know and care about.
Focus Features/Alliance Film's The Kids Are All Right is in theatres Friday, July 9, 2010 and it is superb. Grade: A+ Does anybody want some seed?