The Kids Are All Right (2010) Directed by Lisa Cholodenko. With Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, John Hutcherson.
Co-penned and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right is an indie spirited US drama with enough going for it in terms of performances to see it comfortably through it’s 106min running time.
A breakout hit at Sundance in 2010 and the recipient of Golden Globes and four Academy Award nominations, it’s slightly puzzling as to why such widespread praise was heaped upon it upon initial discovery. There’s no denying the overall reliability of the performances, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore (Nic and Jules) make for a perfectly enjoyable screen pair playing the gay parents of two teenage children conceived by artificial insemination whose interest in their mystery father played by a charming and disarming Mark Ruffalo is the core drive of the piece.
Overall, it’s a film that plays out as very light on it’s feet, but without an over emphasis of comedy and more of an inclination towards subtle, more organic laughs. This is in no way a bad thing, but it’s not a story that will live for long in the memory which again raises the question of- ‘Why all the fuss?’
The script, which is co-penned by Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg works very well with the calibre of performances. The direction is unfussy and efficient in the same way that you would expect of a television show as characters and relationships are set front and centre. Again, this is not meant as a negative, but more an observation as just how reliable, but noticeably unspectacular the film is.
While for obvious reasons, I’d refrain from labelling it ‘alright’, it does sit comfortably slightly above that description. Sturdy dramatic performances, a dash of charm and some light comic touches make for a good all round package of conflicting family ties that will easily keep most viewers engaged throughout. 3.5/5