Saturday, January 29, 2011

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo
Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson


"Nic and Jules had the perfect family,
until they met the man who made it all possible"




The kids in this case would be Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), the two teenage children of Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), a married lesbian couple. They are curious to know the identity of their common biological father, the sperm donor.

After they secretly (they kept it from their moms) find out who he is, they seek him out. Their father is Paul (Mark Ruffalo), a successful entrepreneur who owns a restaurant that serves organic food.

Soon enough, the kids can no longer keep their secret so Paul is introduced to the family. This creates strain as they each form their respective opinions on Paul's 'role' in their cozy little family.

But it seems, it's the adults who are having problems with Paul's presence. Nic is a control freak and the more domineering partner in the marriage. While Jules is more laid back and has easily settled into domesticity but yearns to kick-start her career as a landscape designer.

The kids are both level-headed, respectful and pretty normal in spite and despite their unusual upbringing and as the title suggests well the kids are just fine.

This alternative film brings forth a refreshing perspective on a growing part of society - the same sex marriage. Regardless, it is clear that Nic and Jules are dedicated to each other, and devoted to their children. They struggle to overcome the obstacles and rough patches that tend to plague every marriage.

All the characters are realistically flawed, some more than others. Yet they are quite endearing to watch. The story flows with an easy consistency. And give or take a few glaring plot holes, it settles into a groove with a very satisfying ending.

The cast do justice to their roles quite effectively. Ruffalo does a good job because his charms belie the many flaws of this unique character. Bening is convincing, though her character feels like a stereotype. Moore brings just enough exasperation to her character to suggest a frustration that has been nurtured over the years. I like to add that I was surprised that Annette Bening was nominated for her role as Nic. I don't mean to diminish her talent but I got the impression that Julianne Moore's performance was way better.

So while there are funny moments which made me laugh out loud, this film is clearly a dramatic family oriented story. Just bear in mind, they are an unconventional yet quite the modern family of our times.

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