Monday, November 15, 2010
The Kids Are All Right
Though The Kids Are All Right never surpasses the threshold of greatness, the film is an intelligent take on familial and romantic relationships.
While Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) struggle with their marriage, their daughter Joni (Mia Wasikowska) faces graduation. Meanwhile, their son Laser (Josh Hutcherson) contacts his biological father, the free spirited Paul (Mark Ruffalo) who donated sperm when he was a young man. As Paul is increasingly intertwined in his "children's" lives, his role in the family becomes more complex.
There are no villains here. Nic's controlling nature is somewhat overemphasized, but Bening remains sympathetic and humorous. Moore is likewise engaging as the appealing but insecure Jules. Ruffalo is excellent as the laid back Paul. His unexpected reactions to having a family of sorts are fascinating but a tad underdeveloped.
Joni and Laser are perhaps the most well drawn characters. In fact, their stories could have been explored more. The siblings have a close but imperfect connection. They are sarcastic, naive, endearing, and a refreshing departure from unrealistic teenage stereotypes.
The Kids Are All Right touches on everyday questions of patience, disappointment, and love. The movie sometimes strains to find the right amount of quirk, but it's a rare film that is both enjoyable and smart, and thus worth seeing.