The Kids Are All Right plays like a timely recording of our present, wherein most families are unconventional, all of them have problems and like the organic and environmentalist concern featured in the film, both smother and uphold us. Starring Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo, it’s about two moms trying to raise a family in Los Angeles and the trouble that ensues when their son’s curiosity about his and his sister’s donor brings the strange man into their lives. As the gaybies named Lazer and Joni, Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska (you might know her as Alice, of recent Wonderland fame) hold their own with the superb acting of Moore, Bening and Ruffalo. Some concerns do arise early-on, though. Like â€œWhy does Ruffalo always seem to be playing the same scruffy mumbling dude?â€ and â€œDo most children of LGBTQ families actually care about their donor in real life?â€. From what I hear from credible sources: a) â€œbecause he’s good at itâ€ and b) â€œsimply put, no.â€ But it is only a movie and a very good one at that. Oh, and Julianne Moore is naked a lot, what else is new?
Set and seemingly actually shot in L.A. the movie addresses the modern lifestyle of teenagers and adults in an honest way. The scenes assert we’re all over-sexed and overwhelmed that we grow up too fast and talk too much. Most interestingly the kids really are â€œall rightâ€ despite this and remain the voices of reason throughout the film-anchoring their parent’s emotional immaturities. They sit through lots of typically lesbian â€œdialogueâ€, over-analyzing and healthy-communicating-to-death and yet are both tenderly loyal to their family and asserting their maturity in commonly teenaged ways. Lazer’s douchey friend, decked out in skate brands, way too eager to pee on stray dogs and hurl himself off of buildings like a Jackass, is comic and tragic archetype of today’s manly boys. He reminds audiences of what the â€œalternative setâ€ is fleeing from. On the other side of the coin, Ruffalo’s character is a co-op farmer and restaurateur whose walking stereotype hipster ways are constantly studied and critiqued.
There were some really funny parts, such as Bening and Ruffalo’s impromptu Joni Mitchell accapella duet. There was also raw emotion and some gut-wrenching scenes. To be honest, a movie hasn’t stressed me out so much since the Blair Witch Project. And the soundtrack! Well, its amazing…its strongest aspect was its relevance and superbly acted script (penned by Lisa Cholodenko, who also directed, and Stuart Blumberg). In terms of the negative: for me it could have had even more about the kids and less about wannabe-daddy donor angst.
I loved that at its heart the film is quite political, not just because it’s honest about gay families, but because it also confronts the norm of society. I was personally satisfied when Jules (Moore) admits she’s a bad person after treating her Latino gardener like he’s subhuman and hoped audiences got the message. Living in Philadelphia it’s important to admit we struggle sometimes with all getting along, with our defined neighborhoods and varied American beliefs, so this is a film I recommend heartily to my people. These are just a few of the fine local theaters you can catch this movie at:
Ritz East at 204 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106
Clearview Bala Theater at 157 Bala Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24 at 2121 Route 38, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Bryn Mawr Film Institute at 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
If you are a member of an LGBTQ or just unconventional family here’s some additional info about a great local organization and resource: Mountain Meadow.